Ypsilanti Offers Property Tax Relief to Additional Low-Income Homeowners

Ypsilanti Tax Relief for Low- Income Homeowners

Ypsilanti is set to provide more property tax relief to low-income homeowners in 2023 by adjusting local guidelines, in line with neighboring communities. Poverty exemptions are annual criteria set by Michigan jurisdictions for residents to apply for a reduction or elimination of their property taxes. Ypsilanti’s income cap to qualify for this relief last year was set at $12,880 annually, half the level of neighboring communities, making fewer city residents eligible for the tax relief. This income threshold has nearly doubled this year to $24,750 for a single-person household and has also been raised for larger households.

Additionally, a requirement for eligible homeowners to demonstrate their liquid assets have fallen under 150% of their projected tax bill has been scrapped. The asset guidelines for small households in Ypsilanti, which included investments, second homes, and valuables, were also more restrictive than its neighbors. However, under the new 2023 guidelines, homeowners who meet the criteria and apply can receive a 50% reduction in their property tax bills.

The changes proposed by Council Members Evan Sweet and Steve Wilcoxen were passed unanimously. Wilcoxen had hoped to use a sliding scale ranging from 25% to 100% tax relief based on residents’ incomes. However, Michigan property tax credits can help reduce the remainder of residents’ bills if they claim them when filing taxes, according to Doug Shaw, managing partner of WCA Assessing, which serves Ypsilanti. Sweet and other council members are still investigating the possibility of a tiered exemption system, which would offer greater levels of relief for lower-income residents, as some other cities have implemented it.

While Yvonne Cudney, community education and outreach coordinator with the Housing Bureau for Seniors, expressed concerns that the 50% reduction level could penalize low-income homeowners, city leaders maintained it, with modifications for 2024 still possible. Previously, Ypsilanti had received roughly seven to ten poverty exemption applications annually, with the majority being granted. The applications are concentrated on the south side of Ypsilanti, according to city assessor, Courtney Borden. Information, guidelines, and applications for poverty tax exemptions for all municipalities in Washtenaw County are available on the County Treasurer’s Office website. The city assessor, Borden, and the Housing Bureau, serving people 55 and over, can provide free assistance to residents with the application process.

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