JoCo on the Go Podcast: Property Tax Relief
On episode #162 of JoCo on the Go, we look at Johnson County’s Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Relief Program, which is now accepting applications. A pilot program this year offers up to $200 in property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans who meet income requirements and other qualifications. The application window will be open until April 15 of this year. More information about the program, including information on how to apply, is available online.
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|New property tax relief program
|Johnson County portion of property tax bill
|When and how to apply
|Other property tax relief programs
|Benefits of property tax relief programs
Andy Hyland 0:00
In 2024, Johnson County is launching a new property tax relief program for seniors and disabled veterans who meet income requirements and own their own homes in Johnson County. Today, we'll discuss more about how these residents can get access to up to $200 in property tax relief.
Whether you live in or just love Johnson County, Kansas, JoCo on the Go has everything Johnson County. Here's what's happening and what's coming up in the community you call home.
Andy Hyland 0:32
Thanks for joining us for JoCo on the Go. I'm your host, Andy Hyland. I work in public affairs at Johnson County Government. And we're here to talk about a new property tax relief program. And joining us to do that is Greg Baldwin, chief deputy treasurer for Johnson County. Greg, welcome. And can you tell us a little bit about your connection with all this work?
Greg Baldwin 0:53
Good afternoon, Andy. And thank you for having me today. My role here with Johnson County as chief deputy treasurer is to oversee the billing collection and distribution of all property taxes. And so naturally, our department was a good fit for administering this program as it pertains to property tax relief. So we're excited to kick it off the ground in 2024 and excited to talk about it more with you here today.
Andy Hyland 1:17
Absolutely. So let's talk a little bit about that program. And this is a new program. It came at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, which approved some funding for some property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans who qualify. So can you talk a little bit about who might qualify for this new program?
Greg Baldwin 1:37
Yeah, absolutely. The requirements we set forth for the pilot year are being a resident of Johnson County, of course, own and occupying their home, must be aged 65 or older, or a disabled veteran at 100% disability status. The maximum appraised value on your home for the 2023 calendar year is $384,600. So as long as you're below that maximum, you will qualify. You must also be current on your property tax payments for your residents. So that means you must have at least paid your December 2023 tax payment to qualify. You must also be at or below the very low income limits that are set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And we have those limits set forth on our website.
Andy Hyland 2:30
Great. So if people qualify, what kind of relief will they receive? I understand it could be up to $200.
Greg Baldwin 2:38
Correct. For the first year the program is funded to allow tax relief payments up to $200 or the portion of their Johnson County residential property tax bill, whichever is less. So if the Johnson County portion of their bill is...let's say $150, $150 would be the maximum relief payment they could receive.
Andy Hyland 3:03
Yeah, and I think it might be helpful here to talk a little bit about what we mean when we say the Johnson County portion of the bill. Because I think people can get a property tax bill. And there's a lot that goes into that. So when you say the Johnson County portion, what do we mean?
Greg Baldwin 3:16
Absolutely. That's a great question. The property tax bill, as you alluded to, has multiple taxing authorities that we collect on behalf of State of Kansas, the city you live in, the school district you live in, fire districts and such. And so the county portion is specific to what you would see on your property tax bill that just says Johnson County. So that's not including the parks and rec, that's not including the library. That's simply the Johnson County portion of your real estate property tax statement.
Andy Hyland 3:49
Very good. And if people apply and they're accepted, so when would they receive their payment? And how would that happen?
Greg Baldwin 3:58
Our plan is to receive all the applications between the January 15 and April 15 application period. We'll review those applications for eligibility and determine who's eligible for payout, and that process we hope to take place the summer of 2024. And what we foresee happening is we will send checks to all those residents that apply based on the property and mailing information that the applicants provide to us.
Andy Hyland 4:28
So the application window just opened for this program on January 15. And so how do people apply and when is the deadline?
Greg Baldwin 4:38
Great question. So that window will be open January 15 through April 15. And there will be three opportunities or three ways that applicants can apply. One, they can apply online. We are going to have a form that will be available online that they can download and email to us. And they can also send their application by mail. Or they're welcome to come into our location in the Administration Building in Downtown Olathe and apply in person as well. And when they do apply, there's also some attachments that they'll have to provide as well. So they'll not only have the application for property tax relief, but they'll also have to provide proof of income, which is either their form 1040, from their income tax filing, or their Social Security statement as well, will have to accompany that application.
Andy Hyland 5:34
And they do all that, they submit all that by email, in person and bring it in, or where do they do all of that?
Greg Baldwin 5:42
So that's our recommendation just to avoid the lines and, you know, the hassle of having to drive down here. We would encourage people to gather those documents. And if they have the ability to scan them and email them to us, we'll have that information as well. We have an email address on our website, it's firstname.lastname@example.org. So that would be our first recommendation is to send them electronically. Additionally, they're able to mail those directly to us at our property address here at 111 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1200. That's Olathe, Kansas 66061. And, you know, they're also welcome to come into our office during business hours, which are Monday to Friday, 8-5, excluding holidays, and one of our front desk associates will help them fill out and submit that paperwork.
Andy Hyland 6:43
Very good. And as I know and I think you do too certainly, this is one of a few different property tax relief programs that are available to residents. Some of those are more established, some of them are sponsored by the state instead of the county. People who qualify for one of these programs may qualify for one of the others. Can you talk just a little bit about some of those other programs and who might qualify for those and how they can get more information?
Greg Baldwin 7:12
Absolutely. So you touched on a great point that just because you qualify for one program doesn't exclude you from participating in another. So if you do qualify for the state program or a city program or the county program in any combination, you're allowed to stack those programs. So that's a great benefit to our residents that apply for these. At the state level, there's currently three applications, or three programs if you will. One is referred to the Homestead Property Tax refund. That's the longest standing program that's been out there, it's well established, and allows for up to $700 in property tax relief. And again, we have all those requirements online. There's also the senior or disabled veteran property tax relief, which is one of the newer programs. It essentially establishes a base of your property taxes once you qualify for the program. So once that base is set, you qualify for a rebate payment or relief payment on the incremental increase in your property taxes. Again, if you meet the requirements of that program. And another program that's eligible at this stage is called the Safe Senior Program. And that allows for a refund of up to 75% of the property taxes if you qualify. And all three programs have slightly different requirements. And so we'd encourage the applicants or the residents to go out to our website, which is www.jocogov.org/propertytaxrelief. And all those requirements are there. Now at the state level, you can only qualify for one of the state programs. So one of those three, but then you could also stack the county program in any city programs on top of that.
Andy Hyland 9:07
Yeah, so that's great information. And I think that website, jocogov.org/propertytaxrelief, is a great resource for residents who are looking to sort of navigate and think, "Well, maybe I might qualify." And I think you've got a lot of great information posted there and information about how to apply and who qualifies. So that's a great resource, I think, for folks to check out some of these programs. We talked about city programs, you mentioned them just there. Some cities...I think it varies from where you might live in the county, if some cities have, some cities don't. What's a good way for residents to navigate those programs?
Greg Baldwin 9:49
Yeah, so currently we have over 20 cities in Johnson County, and not all cities offer programs, but many are trending in that direction and many have already established programs and some are on the way. So we encourage everyone who's interested in looking at what programs their city may have to reach out, to contact your city, or I would recommend starting on their website and seeing if they have any programs available for their residents.
Andy Hyland 10:15
That's great. That's great. And I think, you know, a lot of the information about the state programs and the county program, as we said, was on that website, jocogov.org/propertytaxrelief. Anything else, any other information there you think is useful for folks as they navigate whether they might qualify for some of this?
Greg Baldwin 10:36
I think the key information, in addition to some of the requirements for all the programs that we have online is there's contact information, whether it's for the county program, you know, our phone number is out there, 913-715-2638. Or as well, for the state programs, there's also some contact information out there for taxpayer assistance. And so we encourage everyone that's interested in these programs to reach out to those contacts, and get the, you know, proper guidance, and whoever's answering those phones can help you get directed to the right information. So you know, to help you fill out and apply correctly.
Andy Hyland 11:19
Can you speak maybe more broadly to just why do these programs? What's the benefit of offering these kinds of tax reliefs? I'm sure your office deals with people all the time who are interested in getting some relief? Well, why are these programs important?
Greg Baldwin 11:38
These programs are definitely important. As everyone's aware, property values continue to rise and tax bills are always a concern. You know, it's a large bill that residential property owners have to pay. And so it's very important that people seek out and take advantage of these programs that are available. They're there for, you know, the populations that need them the most. Whether it's the aging population, 65 and older, or the disabled population, these programs are there to help them and assist them. So, you know, that can be very challenging to pay your property tax bill, and especially in hard economic times. So we want to make sure that these programs are made readily available, they're easily accessible, and they're utilized, and the more they're utilized, the greater chance they will continue to expand and grow.
Andy Hyland 12:36
Very good. Thanks so much. Thanks for joining us today. And thanks for helping us navigate this a little bit. Anything else people should know about these programs and how they apply that we didn't cover but should have maybe?
Greg Baldwin 12:49
The key thing that I would stress is start researching early. You know, the window will be open for three months. And I'd encourage anyone who's interested in these programs to start looking now and ask questions now. That way, you're not stuck at the last minute trying to track down information or, you know, apply. So then I would also encourage everyone to use the website, use the tools that are there, the frequent questions, and pick up the phone if you have any questions at all, whether it's the county program, and our staff is available to answer those questions. Or if you have a question about the state programs, that information is also listed on the website. And you can call and someone will gladly talk you through the process and help you where you can so you can, you know, apply timely and hopefully have a successful application.
Andy Hyland 13:40
That's great. And you mentioned the email option earlier as well. The email email@example.com, is that the one?
Greg Baldwin 13:49
That's the one. And whether you'd prefer to give us a call or shoot us an email, you'll get a response either way, and we have staff standing by waiting to help you out with your inquiries.
Andy Hyland 14:00
Well, thank you so much again for joining us. We really appreciate you sharing this information. Very good.
Greg Baldwin 14:04
Well thank you for your time today.
You just heard JoCo on the Go. Join us next time for more everything Johnson County. Have a topic you want to discuss? We want to hear from you. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at jocogov. For more on this podcast, visit jocogov.org/podcast. Thanks for listening.