Teb Batey

Teb Batey

Murfreesboro seniors who are not currently on the county’s tax freeze program are stuck with their new, higher city property tax bills, Rutherford County Trustee Teb Batey says.

The Murfreesboro City Council last week voted to increase property tax rates by 34 cents per $100 assessed value, a 35.8 percent increase. Some members of the council had expressed hope that seniors might be able to sign up for Rutherford County’s tax freeze program.

However, Batey told the Murfreesboro Post on Friday that it is too late to freeze new tax rates this year unless you were already signed up. That also applies to county property taxes in the event the Rutherford County Commission raises its rates.

“So, they will participate in a tax increase if they are not currently on the program,” Batey said.

The county government participates in the tax freeze program, so any senior in the county can apply for a freeze on county taxes, he said. Residents of Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne may apply for city and county tax relief; Eagleville does not participate in the program.

There are 2,220 participating properties in all of Rutherford County, Batey said. There are 726 inside the Murfreesboro city limits.

Batey said that residents may still apply to freeze their new, higher tax rates in the event that rates go up again. More information is available online at rctrustee.com or by calling 615-898-7705. They can also make an appointment with his office so they do not have to wait in line, and his staff will help them fill out the paperwork.

There are actually several programs that residents may want to check out.

First is the tax freeze itself. It is for senior homeowners age 65 or older, Batey said. There is an income requirement. The 2018 cap is $42,450 for a household income of whomever is on the deed. That includes Social Security, earned income, rental income, Veterans Administration benefits and more. Applicants must bring proof of income.

Another program is property tax relief, Batey said. That is for seniors 65 and older or disabled homeowners as defined by Social Security. The current income limit is $29,860. The state will pay the tax on the first $28,300 of market value, he said.

Also, there is a program for veterans who are classified by the VA as totally and permanently disabled, along with their surviving spouses, Batey said. There are no limits on income. The program will pay the first $175,000 of market value for the house, he said. The county will match part of that amount.

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