HERE'S A SNAPSHOT of the tax-relief programs available to residents:
Low-income senior-citizen income-tax freeze — Seniors with an annual income of less than $23,500 for an individual or less than $31,500 for a couple can apply to freeze their taxes at the current rate. The freeze is permanent as long as their financial situation and ownership of the property doesn't change. In 2011, 13,642 seniors used this program.
Low-income and low-income senior-citizen installment plans — Residents and seniors who qualify and apply by March can make their tax payments over eight months. In subsequent years, their payments will be made over 12 months. The income requirements aren't as strict as for the tax freeze and the Revenue Department tries to work with people. In January, 17,324 people used this program.
Hardship-payment agreement — Homeowners who reside in their properties and are behind on their taxes can submit income and expense data to the city to stretch out their payments. The city has the discretion to determine eligibility. In January, 1,100 entered this program.
Standard-payment agreement — Those who have lagged in paying taxes can negotiate a payment agreement with the city. Typically these deals require 25 percent down and the balance paid over up to 24 months. In January, 9,228 property owners had these agreements.
Proposed phase-in — The city wants to phase in the move to market-value assessments over three years and it's seeking state authorization for a homestead exemption that would knock $15,000 off everyone's assessed value. n
— Catherine Lucey