Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Fill out your HS-144; it could result in tax savings

I’d like to try to explain School Taxes usually referred to as Education Property Taxes.
It’s not well understood that most Vermont residents can pay school taxes on their homesite (home and two acres) by virtue of their income, NOT the property value of their home. A household with income up to $138,500 can have their property taxes reduced by virtue of their income. This reduction shows up as a credit on the property tax bills sent by your town. This way of calculating school taxes covers nearly 70% of all residential property in Vermont.
Please, if your household income is less than $138,500, fill out the Vermont Household income form (HI-144) and submit it with your Vermont income tax form this April.
So, for example this year, two families living in a community, one family which has a household income of $70,000 will pay roughly 2.7% (varies by town) of their household income or $1,890 in school taxes this year. If their neighbor is living in a home worth $250,000 with a household income over $138,500, their school taxes will be roughly $1.77 (varies by town) per $100 dollars of housesite value or $4425.00.
It is very important that in order to qualify for paying your school taxes by income you MUST fill out the household income (HI-144) form with your Vermont income taxes due on April 15.
There are several other details, for example, for any housesite value over $400,000, the excess over the $400,000 limit will pay that overage by way of the school tax rate regardless of household income. Also any additional acreage or non-residential property is taxed at a non-residential rate. And, if you are a renter with a household income of less than $47,000, you may be eligible for a renter rebate. That information is on the same form (HS-144)
David Sharpe
Bristol
Editor’s note: David Sharpe was a state representative from Bristol for many years and was intimately involved in crafting Vermont’s education funding laws.
 

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