Applications for assistance on property taxes and on rental expense increased this year in the City of Falls Church.The city received 52 applicantions for tax relief and 86 for rental aid.
In 1977 the city received 46 applications for property-tax relief and approved 31. It got 76 applications for rental grants and approved 69. Applications of both types were down as compared with 1976.
The increase is due in part to a new program for the disabled of any age and, to a lesser extent, from a liberalized limit on the total income.
The city's program is similar to those of neighboring jurisdictions. Unlike Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties, however, Falls Church reasesses homes every two years instead of annually.
Those who qualify for either tax exemption or rental assistance also can have as much as $25 of relief from the personal property tax on an automobile, and can receive a free city tag decal.
The general conditions of dbbility are:
Both spouses occupying a dwelling must be age 65 or older.
Combined net worth cannot exceed $35,000, excluding the value of the dwelling in the case of owners.
Combined income cannot exceed $10,450, and the amount that is above $10,000 reduces benefits. However, the first $4,000 of income of each relative, other than the spouse, who lives in the home is not counted.
Permanent and total disability can qualify at any age.
The maximum for tax exemption is $450 per year. The maximum for rental assistance is 15 percent of rent paid, not to exceed $450 per year.
Until 1972 Falls Church also offered tax deferral to seniors, as neighboring Arlington County does now. Falls Church Commissioner of the Revenue Claude M. Wells, whose office administers the programs, would like to see the dererral option restored.
As the plan works in Arlington, the amount of tax that is deferred accumulates, but it does so without interest or penalty. The taxes become due when a property is sold or becomes part of an estate.
"I feel very strongly that people should have the option of taking the tax-deferral route, rather than tax exemption, if they choose to," Wells commented.
He said the change would have two advantages: It would offer an alternative to people who are too proud to adk for exemption,and it would bring revenue to the city at some point. Fairfax City
Fairfax City, a separate government entity from Fairfax County, has a housing assistance program for the elderly with features similar to the county's. However, the city program provedes fewer benefits.
Commissioner of Revenue A. Howell Thomas Jr., said 22 applications from renters have been approved this year and only "two or three" rejected.Forty-one applications for tax relief, out of about 43 submitted, have been approved, he added.
There is no special program for the disabled. Even a person permanently and tatally disbaled would not qualify unless he or she met the same requirements as the non-disabled. There is no tax relief on an auto or other form of personal property, nor are there free city tag decals.
The filing deadline was April 1. No new applications, whether from renters or owners, will be accepted until next Jan. 1.
Those who qualify can receive up to $550 yearly exemption on their city property taxes or a grant of up to $360 yearly if they rent.
For the current year, both renters and owners must have been age 65 or older as of Dec. 31, 1977. Gross combined income of the applicants and all relatives living in the dwelling cannot exceed $10,000. In the case if an owner, however, the first $1,500 of income of relatives of either the applicant or the applicants spouse who lives in the household is [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
Neither owners nor renters can have net assets in excess of $35,000 - excluding, in the case of the former, the value of the house and up to one acre of land that it sits on. Land above one acre is treated as an asset.
For both groups, formulas that use brackets of $1,000 provide the most benefits for those at the lowest incomes. Social Security and other forms of federal retirement are counted as income but do not disqualify. For renters, however, receipt of state welfare aid disqualifies a person as does receipt of financial aid under the 136 Program, a housing assistance plan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The grant to renters is computed at 15 percent of actual rent paid or $360, whichever is less, and by applying the income formula.
Other information is available at Thomas's office in Room 210 of City Hall, University Drive and Armstrong Street., Fairfax, 22030, or by phoning 273-7900, extentions 225, 226, 227 or 228.