At March 4th’s legislative meeting of the Council of the District Columbia, the “Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013” passed final vote and passed the Council with the support of ten members approving.

The bill, authored by At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, will exempt long-standing residents 70 years of age and older from paying any real property taxes on their primary residence if they have maintained DC residency for at least 20 years, and have a household adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 and total assets of $250,000 (on the basis of the $12,500 interest and dividend limit), excluding residence. The bill was amended to include a provision that wealthier residents would not be able to claim the benefit.

“This act will ease the financial burdens of thousands of the District’s low-to-moderate income aging population. These residents have supported the District through dire times, and they deserve the opportunity to age in place gracefully and with dignity,” Councilmember Bonds stated. “This legislation will make this sentiment a reality,” she added.

The bill will affect around 6,800 households in the District, who will see an average savings of $1,198.00.

“This measure is a step in the right direction towards making the District of Columbia livable and affordable for people of all ages and income brackets,” stated AARP DC State Director Louis Davis Jr.

The bill will be submitted to Mayor Gray for his signature but it is unclear whether he will fund the proposal. Funding must be identified before implementation. In fact, the majority of bills passed by the Council are subject to appropriations. In contrast, Councilmember Jack Evans shepherded the bill as Chair of the Committee of Finance and Revenue, Councilmember Muriel Bowser consistently promoted the bill, and Councilmembers Jim Graham, Mary Cheh, Kenyan McDuffie, Tommy Wells, Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, and Vincent Orange all supported the legislation.

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