Hundreds More Seniors, Disabled Residents Avail Themselves of Parcel Tax Exemptions This Year

Santa Clara County has granted 1,789 more seniors and disabled people exemptions to local parcel taxes compared to the year prior. Officials say that’s because they invested resources to get the word out about their eligibility and how to apply.

Last year, the county supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez drummed up an outreach plan so more qualifying property owners could take advantage of the tax exemption allowed in 24 local school districts.

According to estimates provided to the county at the time, as much as 40 percent of seniors and disabled residents were eschewing the exemption because school districts failed to notify them about the benefit. In some instances, school districts even imposed needless steps for people to take to even apply for the exemption, officials said.

For the disabled and elderly, the savings of $49 to $820 a year is nothing to sneeze at.

“For many seniors on fixed incomes, the parcel tax was a financial burden that was extremely difficult for them to bear as they struggled to make ends meet,” Cortese said in a news release today. “Our outreach campaign is paying off for these taxpayers thanks to the County and the school districts.”

The supervisor said he first learned of the issue from San Jose resident Don Eberhard, who told the Board of Supervisors last year that too many older homeowners were overpaying in taxes.

As of Oct. 22 this year, all local school districts reported an uptick in granted exemptions.

In Alum Rock Union School District, the number of exemptions rose from 25 last year to 89, according to county officials. Berryessa Union School District approved tax exemptions for 902 residents compared to 743 in the 2018-19 fiscal year. San Jose Unified reported an uptick from 58 last year to 291 in 2020-21.

Click here for the full list of districts and exemptions.

Property owners who believe they may be eligible for a parcel tax exemption can visit the county Finance Agency’s Parcel Tax Exemption page with information about the school districts that do levy a parcel tax and how to apply.

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