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Are You Missing Out On A Property Tax Break In Idaho? Ada County Tells Us More

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Rising property taxes in the Treasure Valley and beyond have some homeowners worried about how they will afford to stay in their homes. 

Idaho lawmakers are now looking at how to provide financial relief. But one form of relief – what's known as a "circuit breaker" – already offers a tax break for some folks. Ada County Assessor Robert McQuade says he suspects there are many people in the county who qualify, but who haven’t applied yet. He’s trying to change that.

“We need to get everybody who’s eligible for [the circuit breaker] to take advantage of that program,” McQuade said during an interview on Idaho Matters.

There are certain requirements to qualify for the circuit breaker in 2020. Individuals can’t make more than $31,280 annually, and need to own and live in their home. After those requirements are met, there are several other ways people can qualify. If you’re a widow or widower, blind or have a disability, or are 65 years or older – McQuade said you should apply.

(Here's more info on how to qualify.) 

"Legislators are getting tremendous pressure from their constituents to do something about property taxes." - Scott McIntosh, Idaho Statesman

The county official notes another important thing: just because you qualify one year doesn’t mean you’re enrolled for the next year. Folks have to apply for the circuit breaker every year to qualify. States reimburse counties for the benefit; McQuade said it doesn’t cost counties anything when more folks enroll.

Idaho Statesman opinion page editor Scott McIntosh said the program is confusing for some people, including a 90-year-old Boise woman who has seen her property taxes double in the last seven years. But she didn't know she was eligible for the program. According to his reporting, about 50% of the population eligible for this form of tax relief in the state actually receive it.

McIntosh outlined a couple of the proposals circulating among Idaho lawmakers this year on property taxes.

“Legislators are getting tremendous pressure from their constituents to do something about property taxes. One of the proposals is to freeze property tax budgets for one year.”

There’s another proposal that would increase the circuit breaker program benefit, this one proposed by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The measure – which hasn’t been introduced in committee yet – would increase the maximum benefit from $1,320 to $2,000 per year.

Ada County Assessor Robert McQuade says to reach out to your county office to apply before April 15. Here’s the number to the Ada County office: 208-287-7200


Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.