The Newton Senior Tax Work-Off Program provides qualified seniors, who work up to 125 hours for the city, a rebate of up to $1000 against their real estate taxes. To qualify you must meet age, income and residency guidelines. For more information, take a look at the Senior Tax Work-Off FAQS sheet below.
Currently, most jobs take place in city departments doing clerical tasks and answering phones, but the Newton Department of Senior Services plans to expand the program into the community.
The vision is to put together a corps of volunteers who have the skills to assist seniors who want to age in place in their homes in Newton. Typical requests include taking trash cans to the curb, changing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries, and other small odd jobs such as installing/removing storm windows and moving items into or out of the cellar.
If you are interested in earning a real estate tax rebate (if you qualify) or just volunteering in the senior community, please call Lynn Feinman at 617-796-1675. And stay tuned for the announcement of the start of this expanded program!
The Senior Tax Work-off Program is a special program offered by the City of Newton to help financially eligible seniors receive a deduction off their annual real estate taxes. If a senior qualifies for this program, they then “work” for one of the City’s departments, “earning” about $8/hour up to 125 hours for a cap of $1000.00 per year.
Below are some frequently asked questions about the program. If your question does not appear here contact Lynn Feinman at the Department of Senior Services (617)796-1675.
How do I apply?
To qualify you must meet age, income and residency guidelines. For specific information, call the Assessor’s Office in City Hall, 617-796-1160. Applications may be obtained at the Assessor’s Office, room 116, first floor, Newton City Hall, downloaded from the City of Newton website, or by calling Lynn Feinman at 617-796-1675
If I qualify, what happens next?
The Assessing Department will send a confirmation of your qualified application to the Department of Senior Services. We then contact you to conduct a brief phone interview to determine your skills, experience and preferences in order to help match you to an available job.
Where are the jobs and what do they entail?
The jobs are within various City Departments, and also in some of the Newton schools. Many jobs involve filing and helping with phones, but many are varied and involve other skills.
I hear lots of dates mentioned. Can you explain the timeframe?
You can accumulate up to a total of 125 hours of work between November 1 and October 31, which will be credited toward a deduction off the following February tax bill. You re-apply as of July 1st each year. This table explains it:
July 2011 - Application process starts:
If you are a new participant, any hours worked up through 10/31/12 count toward Feb. 2013 RE tax bill. If you were already in the program, your hours from 11/01/11 - 10/31/12 count toward the Feb. 2013 bill. Hours worked from 11/01/12 through 10/31/13 count toward Feb. 2014 RE tax bill. You will re-apply in July 2012.
What about withholding taxes?
You will be given a packet from the Human Resources Department with some forms to fill out and return. You are basically being paid a rate of about $8.00 per hour to a maximum of 125 hours to reach the ceiling of the allowable $1000.00 deduction. By law, part-time employees have ING (retirement) withheld from their wages at 7.5% instead of Social Security. Since you only receive one check, we have you sign a waiver to have the 7.5% normally withheld for retirement ADDED to the total to reduce your real estate taxes. You do have Federal tax reporting requirements and you will receive a W2 form. This is exempt from State taxes.
What happens if I apply at some time other than July, such as January?
If, for example, you applied and were approved in January, then any hours that you worked (up to a total of 125) between that time and the following October 31, would be credited toward a deduction off the following February tax bill. But you will need to re-apply after July 1 again for the following year, as the Assessing Department needs to evaluate if your income eligibility has changed.
What happens if I do not qualify when I re-apply?
You re-apply after July 1t each year. If you do not qualify because your income increased, then you would stop participating. However, the hours you have performed between the previous Nov. 1st and your re-application will still count and that amount will be credited to the following February tax bill. Don’t forget, if your income goes back down, be sure to re-apply the following year! (Some people have a 1 year increase due to a particular situation).