BOSTON – State Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn) is urging Commonwealth residents who are 65 or older to inquire about their eligibility for the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit when filing their 2023 state tax returns. In addition, the Representative is encouraging seniors to take advantage of the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program in their municipality, a provision he sponsored.
Established by the State Legislature in 1999, the Circuit Breaker provides financial relief to seniors by offering a refundable tax credit to help offset rent and property taxes associated with their primary residence in Massachusetts. The recent legislative changes have significantly expanded the tax credit, doubling the maximum credit from $1,200 to $2,590 for the 2023 tax year. The recent changes were approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Maura Healey in October 2023. This increase will provide substantial savings for nearly 100,000 qualifying seniors across the state when they file their taxes over the next couple of months.
Furthermore, another important update was made to the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program, increasing from $1,500 to $2,000, which allows municipalities to reduce certain seniors’ property tax if they participate in the senior work-off program.
“Programs like the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit and the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program are critical for offering financial assistance to seniors who are on fixed incomes facing rising housing costs,” said Representative Haggerty. “These programs provide real, impactful relief putting money back into the pockets of our senior residents. I’m proud to have supported these very important tax relief measures.”
To qualify for the Circuit Breaker tax credit, Massachusetts residents must be 65 or older by December 31, 2023, and own or rent a home in Massachusetts that serves as their primary residence, explains Rep. Haggerty. For married couples filing a joint tax return, only one spouse needs to meet the age requirement. Additionally, the credit applies to homes assessed at $1,025,000 (before residential exemptions but after abatements) or less in value as of January 1, 2023.
Applicants must satisfy income limits to be eligible. For single filers, the total 2023 income threshold is $69,000. For heads of households, the cap is $86,000, and for joint-married filers, $103,000.
Homeowners can qualify if their 2023 Massachusetts property tax payments plus half their water and sewer costs exceed 10% of their total Massachusetts income for the tax year. For renters, 25% of their annual Massachusetts rent must surpass 10% of their total 2023 Massachusetts income for the tax year. One caveat – the credit is not available for seniors residing in public or subsidized housing.
To receive the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, eligible seniors must complete Schedule CB (Circuit Breaker Credit) and submit it along with their standard Massachusetts Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY income tax form. Rep. Haggerty stresses that applicants must file a Massachusetts state tax return to claim the credit, even if they do not owe any taxes.
For more information about the Senior Circuit seniors can visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-senior-circuit-breaker-tax-credit. Additional assistance is available by contacting the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Customer Service Bureau at 617-887-6367 (toll-free at 1-800-392-6089) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Monday through Friday. As for the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program, contact your local municipality for further information.