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Oklahoma 'Senior Freeze' can be cool tax relief for many homeowners

by Paula Burkes Modified: July 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm •  Published: July 8, 2014

When John Dunn, 66, of Norman, learned Oklahoma has a law that allows most seniors to keep their property taxes from going up, he immediately picked up the phone to call the Cleveland County Assessor’s Office.

Dunn read about the “Senior Valuation Freeze” in his AARP magazine. The tax relief was passed by a vote of the people in 1996, and widened through a state question in 2004, but it’s not widely publicized. Property owners just have to know that after they turn 65, the taxable values of their homes can be locked in, if their annual gross household incomes are under certain amounts.

Eligible seniors must file a one-time application with their respective county assessor offices between Jan. 1 and March 15.

Dunn, who turned 65 in February of last year, missed the application deadline last year and again this year.

“I called the end of March this year, after I read about the freeze, and was told to call back in January 2015,” Dunn said. “I was really upset with the window only being open for a short time, and that (fact) not being in the open,” he said. “So, you miss that year and they get all they can again.”

Dunn said he’s really ready for his freeze to take effect. He’s been retired for three years, he said, and has owned his property— a modular home on an acreage in east Norman—for 27 years. Its current market value is $153,087 and taxable value, $150,184. His 2013 property taxes were $436, he said.

According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission website, property owners 65 and older are eligible for property valuation freezes if their annual gross household incomes fall beneath yearly amounts set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for their respective counties.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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