Created in 1963, Oregonâ€™s Property Tax Deferral Program will allow nearly 11,000 senior citizensâ€™ to borrow money from the state in order to pay for their 2010-2011 property taxes or make improvements to their residences.
Although the program was intended to help those in need, a report by The Oregonian states that nearly 200 Oregonians are receiving this benefit who own homes that are over $500,000. According to the report, the state will be paying taxes this year on 8 homes valued at over $1 million, including a $2.2 million dollar home in Lake Oswego, a $1.1 home in Tualatin, and a $1.5 million dollar home in Sisters. In order to qualify for this program, Oregonians must be 62 years or older and have an income no more than $39,500. Disabled Oregonians who make less than $38,500 a year can also qualify to participate in this program.
Once someone qualifies for the loan, the state puts a lien on the property after paying the home ownerâ€™s taxes. The state will then get the money back with 6 percent interest once the home sells or the property owner dies. Some issues with the program have included homes that have gone into foreclosures, averaging about $100,000 in unpaid loans, as well as an unpaid $255,190 loan from a $3.2 million dollar home with deceased owners.
The program was originally created for seniors and people with disabilities as a way to help Oregonians in need stay in their homes. Although there are people qualifying for this program with expensive homes, a majority of those qualifying for this program live in moderately priced homes. The requested amount to pay this year taxes for those who qualify was estimated to be $20 million. Officials have stated that the fund needs another $27 million in order to cover the next two tax years.