If you are 65 or over, you are eligible for a property tax credit against regular school taxes assessed on your primary residence. The actual credit is for 50 percent of the taxes up to a maximum of $500. It sounds very simple, but as I was doing the research for myself, I ended up with questions. So, I made some calls and I am sharing those answers here with you.
If you turn 65 prior to April 30th of the tax year, you are eligible to receive this credit on that year’s school district property tax bill. Since I don’t turn 65 until October, I won’t be eligible until 2013.
This is a State Program and the current law states that you must have been a full time resident for 6 months prior to May 1st of the tax year in order to be eligible. So, if you moved here in December of 2011 and turn 65 prior to April 30th of this year, you will be eligible for the Senior School Property Tax Credit for 2012. However, if you moved to Delaware in March of 2012 with the same birthday, you would not be eligible until 2013.
When to apply
You should apply when you actually turn 65 and the State will notify you when your eligibility begins.
How to apply
The application form is available online here. Just complete the form, print it out and mail it to the appropriate County office listed at the end of the form. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your driver’s license!
You are Married or entered into a Civil Union; you are 65 but your spouse or partner is not yet 65? Good news! Because the property is treated as if it is wholly owned by each of you, you may claim the entire credit. No double dipping however. Only one credit per property per year is allowed.
You co-own the property with another person who is also 65? No problem. Your share of the credit is determined by your ownership interest in the property. If it is 50/50, you will each be able to claim 50% of the available credit.
Once you qualify for the program, you do not need to re-apply each year. The amount of the credit will be deducted from your property tax bill before it is mailed to you by the County!
Read More about Delaware Tax Questions.