Amherst Seniors May Be Eligible For Lower Property Taxes


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With an upcoming debt exclusion override to raise taxes in order to fund the building of a new elementary school, property owners are facing an increase in property taxes of about $500 on an average home in Amherst. Due to that pending increase in taxes, many residents, especially seniors, are worried about being able to afford the increased levy.

There are three options for mitigating property increases. One property tax abatement is available to seniors age 65 and older who qualify by income and asset limitations. A second is available to residents aged 70 and older, a surviving spouse, or minor child, and has no income limitations but does have asset limitations. The third option is the “Senior Tax Work-Off Program” available through the Senior Center.

The first option, clause 41C, under Mass General Law Chapter 59 Section 5, offers a deduction of $1,000 or more from taxes for those who have owned their home since at least July 1, 2022,  have owned a residence in Massachusetts for at least five years, and have lived in the state continuously for at least the preceding 10 years. 2021 Income limitations are $46,724 for a married couple and $31,217 for a single person for a FY2023 application. Asset limits, excluding the residence, are $71,379 for a couple or $51,912 for a single person. The application for FY2023 tax abatement is due by April 1.  (more details here).

According to Administrative Assistant to the Assessor Theresa Bouthilette-Sarna, the applicant could have deeded the property to another person, as long as life tenancy was maintained. Also, the applicant could live in a nursing home if the residence was not rented. The amount of tax reduction cannot exceed the amount of the previous year’s tax increase.

A second option is under clause 17D and is available to those who turned 70 years before July 1, 2022 or are a surviving spouse or minor child. This option has no income limitations, but assets, excluding the residence, cannot exceed $40,000. The house must have been owned for the preceding five years, although the applicant can live in a nursing home as long as the residence is not rented, and the property can be deeded over if life tenancy is maintained. The tax reduction is $319 or more, but again cannot exceed the amount of the tax increase over the previous year. Applications for FY 2023 are due April 1. (more details here).

First-time applicants need to submit a copy of their birth certificate. All applicants need copies of bank statements, 2021 income tax forms, and proof of stocks, bonds, and annuities. Those with questions can contact the assessor at or 413-259-3024 (Fax 413-259-2401).

The Amherst Senior Center offers a tax work-off program where qualified homeowners aged 60 and older can reduce their property taxes by up to $1,500 by working for the town for up to 100 hours at $15 per hour. The applicant cannot have an income of more than $52,750, or $60,250 for a married couple. If both members of a married couple qualify, each may earn up to $1,500 in the program. These earnings are subject to federal taxes. Applicants are chosen according to the best match with the job requirements. Interested applicants can contact Hayley Bolton at or 413-259-3114.

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