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7:08 AM Tue, Oct. 16th

County Assessor's Office continuing tax break for widowed, disabled

The Mohave County Assessor's Office is urging low-income disabled and widowed residents to re-apply or apply for property tax exemptions beginning Wednesday through March 1.

They are entitled to the tax breaks under state laws that remove some, if not all, of the taxable value from property taxes for qualifying widows, widowers and those who are 100 percent disabled, according to a fact sheet supplied by Assessor Bev Payne.

The tax breaks will go into effect in the 2002-2003 year, which starts July 1.

She said the intent is to protect the recipients from losing their homes because of taxes.

The county has more than 240,000 parcels.

Her office recently mailed forms to 2,264 people who received the exemptions during the 2001-2002 fiscal year, Payne said.

The exemptions exceeded $6.2 million in assessed valuation in a county with a total assessed value of $1 billion for the current fiscal year.

Payne said that the widows and widowers do not have to meet any age requirements, adding that most of them are seniors.

Eligible individuals must re-apply every year that they are seeking the tax break.

The qualifications for the exemptions are:

• Beneficiaries must own property not exceeding $10,000 in assessed value, 10 percent of the value of the property.

• Recipients must be current residents and lived on the property with their spouses while their spouses were still alive.

• Household income may not exceed $13,200 or $18,840 if the recipient has children.

(Social Security benefits are excluded from the income requirements.)

• Disabled people need to supply proof from their doctors that they are totally disabled.

The income requirements may have excluded Kingman residents Charles Bahem and Dottie Land, who were contacted Monday at the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center.

Bahem, a retired truck driver who has been a widower since 1996, said he apparently does not qualify because his property exceeds $10,000 in assessed value.

"It's a good program, but it's still going to be like the rest of them: too many abuses," he said.

Land, who has been widowed for a year, said she applied last year for the exemption and was rejected, apparently because she has too much money in the bank.

"I don't think it is fair," she said.

She said she and her late husband, Charles, an Air Force veteran who retired from the U.S.

Postal Service, both worked for a living.

For more information, visit the Assessor's Office at 315 Oak St.

or call 753-0703.