Boston – Today State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) unveiled his annual informational pamphlet on the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, updated specifically for Tax Year 2011. First published by the Senator in January 2008 for Tax Year 2007, this brochure is intended to help Massachusetts citizens, aged 65 or older, determine their eligibility for the tax credit.
“The state Department of Revenue reports that the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit returns more money to the wallets of senior taxpayers in Massachusetts than any other state tax credit,” said Downing. “Each year I distribute this informational brochure to those serving seniors in western Massachusetts hoping to spread the word about this opportunity.”
The Senator provides copies of his pamphlet to the Councils on Aging serving communities throughout his Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District. It is also available under the Hot on the Hill tab of his website, www.SenatorDowning.com. The brochure is free and all are welcome to print and share this information to those who may find it helpful.
The Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is an income tax credit designed by the Legislature to alleviate some of the burden from property taxes, so-called because it is “triggered,” like an electrical circuit breaker, when property taxes, water and sewer bills exceed 10% of a senior citizen’s annual income. For Tax Year 2011, the maximum credit is $980.
Eligible seniors must claim this credit by submitting a completed Schedule CB, Circuit Breaker Credit, with their 2011 state income tax return. To be eligible one must be a Massachusetts citizen, aged 65 or older by January 1, 2012; own or rent residential property in the Commonwealth and occupy the property as a primary residence; and have an annual income of $52,000 or less for a single filer; $65,000 or less for a head of household; or $78,000 or less for joint filers.
The state Department of Revenue reports that in Tax Year 2009 (the most recent tax year for which complete information is available) 80,566 taxpayers received $61.1 million in cash or credits used to lower income tax payments through the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, an average of $759 per taxpayer.
Downing notes that his brochure is for informational purposes only – it is not an official tax document and seniors should consider consulting with tax professionals for additional guidance.