Senior Circuit Breaker: Tax Year 2016
Greetings from Senator Mike Moore
Many seniors have spent a lifetime contributing to our local communities and, as such, our Commonwealth has an obligation to provide opportunities that help seniors live healthy, independent and productive lives.
The Circuit Breaker is a tax credit program designed to help provide some property tax relief to seniors. Please take a moment to read through this webpage to learn more. I hope this information is helpful to you. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of any assistance to you and your family.
About the Circuit Breaker
The Circuit Breaker Credit is a property tax credit designed to alleviate the burden property taxes can create for seniors of the Commonwealth. The program is so named because it is “triggered” like an electrical circuit breaker when property payments exceed 10% of a senior citizen’s annual income.
Eligible individuals include seniors who have reached age 65 by the end of the tax year and own or rent their primary residential property in Massachusetts. Annual income for eligible individuals cannot exceed $57,000 as a single filer, $71,000 for a head of household; or $86,000 for joint filers.
NOTE: Seniors who were previously eligible for this tax credit but did not take it can file amended returns for up to three prior tax years to receive the credit.
Those who are not eligible for the tax credit include married persons who do not file jointly for the credit, dependents of another tax filer, those who directly receive a federal or state rent subsidy, those who live in a property-tax exempt facility, and persons whose property is assessed at a value of more than $720,000.
Qualified seniors receive $1.00 credit on their state income taxes for every dollar their property tax and water and sewer bills exceed 10% of their income, up to $1,070 maximum in tax year 2016. The maximum credit for tax year 2015 was also $1,070.
How to Apply
To apply for the tax credit, seniors should submit the Circuit Breaker Credit form (Schedule CB Form) along with their State Resident Income Tax Return. The links to both forms are below:
NOTE: In order to be considered for the credit, eligible seniors must file a tax return and claim a refund regardless if they do not owe taxes.
Sample Senior Circuit Breaker Calculation
Additional Information & Resources
For additional information regarding the Circuit Breaker, and to access copies of tax forms, please visit the Department of Revenue’s website (link below) or contact the Department via telephone at (617) 887-6367.
Also, check with your local Senior Center about whether local programs exist to assist with annual tax filing. Several organizations, including AARP, offer free tax services in select locations (link below). You may also dial (888) 687-2277to learn more.