Elderly, and Disabled Renters Could Lose Millions

The Missouri Catholic Conference opposes legislation to repeal a tax credit currently available to low-income renters who are elderly or disabled. According to the Department of Revenue, Senate Bill 541, sponsored by Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown), would affect 106,598 elderly and disabled renters currently receiving this tax credit.

Currently, the credit is available to renters who are elderly (65 or older) or disabled and who have a household income of $27,200 or less if single, or $29,500 or less if married. Renters can claim a credit representing twenty percent of the gross rent paid in the calendar year up to $750.00. The average credit received is $534 annually. Renters are only those who pay “arms length” rental to the landlord. No credit is available if the landlord did not pay real estate taxes.

Catholic Charities agencies, as well as the Jefferson City Samaritan Center, currently help people complete tax forms so they can claim the low-income renters’ credit.

Lou DeFeo, volunteer coordinator at the Jefferson City Samaritan Center Legal Care, is very passionate about this program. He says that it is a “program that only helps people who are less fortunate.”

“This program has been in place since the 1970’s, people that fall into these categories have grown to be dependent on this as part of their income. Before Missouri considers taking this tax credit away, they really need to get in touch with the real people that the program is benefiting,” DeFeo said.

The Missouri Department of Revenue indicates that $57 million of property tax credit was issued specifically under the renters’ provisions in fiscal year 2013.

“Missouri isn’t a generous state, this tax credit makes a huge difference in elderly and disabled peoples lives,” DeFeo noted.

During the 2013 legislative session, this legislation was passed through the chambers and ultimately vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. So far in the 2014 Session, Senate Bill 541 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and Local Government.

Posted: February 7, 2104

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