Although this annual taxpayer mandate can thin a wallet, exercise a debit card or strain a checkbook, it is reassuring to know that help is available to deserving groups who meet age and income guidelines.
Two of these are our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown’s low-income elderly and disabled residents. In order to benefit from these earned rewards, they must simply apply at the Courthouse office of Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith.
The Tax Relief Program is a state-authorized initiative for low-income elderly and disabled residents. These qualifying groups will receive a discount ranging from $112 to $137 off their property tax bill. Applicants must make less than $26,830 per year. Permanent and totally disabled veterans, no matter their level of income, can also apply for these program benefits.
The Tax Freeze Program is a county initiative available to residents age 65 and older who earn less than $29,540 per year. If married, their combined yearly income must not exceed this amount. As its name implies, the program freezes an eligible applicant’s property taxes at the time of application.
Application deadline for either the Tax Relief or Tax Freeze programs is April 5, 2012. It is one that eligible residents should mark on their calendars because of its importance to their own limited budgets.
Smith, who has proven himself for years as a proponent of Bradley County and its hometown Cleveland residents, issued the reminder recently in a statement to our newspaper’s staff writer, Joyanna Weber. In the interview, he told us, “The Tax Relief and Tax Freeze programs are two very important [programs] that assist our citizens with their taxes. I encourage any citizen who feels they meet the qualification criterion to come to the Trustee’s Office to apply.”
We agree with the respected trustee’s assessment and we encourage eligible residents to participate; or, at the very least, to drop by or call the county office to gather additional information and instruction on how to proceed, if appropriate.
Applicants planning to apply for either of these programs are reminded to take your 2010 income information — and spouse information, if relevant — to the Trustee’s Office with you. Also, take a valid form of identification such as driver’s license or Medicare card.
The county trustee also advises, “We need a copy of the title or bill of sale if you reside in a mobile home and your property is in a trust.” A copy of this documentation is required by state authorities.
For those unfamiliar with the layout, the Trustee’s Office is located in Room 104 of the Bradley County Courthouse. Questions may be directed to office staff at 728-7247 or 728-7248.
Cleveland and Bradley County residents whose age and income make them eligible for either of these programs should not hesitate to drop by the Trustee’s Office or to call for additional information.
These are government-provided programs at both the county and state levels that are intended to help those who need help the most. Perhaps most importantly, this help is being offered to area residents who have earned the right for the assistance.
Some government-authorized programming does not always get positive reviews from the public.
The Tax Relief and Tax Freeze programs do.