Property taxes in Delaware are levied at the local level. Each county has its own property tax rate and assessment ratio. In addition to the county taxes, there are property taxes for cities, school districts, libraries, vo-tech, and crossing guards. The Delaware Economic Development Department provides a list of tax rates applicable in each county and municipality. There are certain property tax exemptions for homeowners age 65 or over or disabled, depending on their annual income, and seniors can qualify for a school property tax credit.
Senior property tax relief
Delaware homeowners age 65 or over can qualify for a credit against the regular school property taxes on their primary residence. The credit is for 50 percent of the taxes up to a maximum of $500. To claim this credit, you must file the Application for Senior School Property Tax Credit with your local county tax assessor. You need to attach a copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate.
If you are married and jointly own the home, and one of you is 65 or over and the other younger than 65, the qualifying spouse can claim the full credit. If you are both age 65 or over, you can claim one credit for the home. If the home is co-owned by persons who are not married, and one person qualifies (is 65 or over) and the other doesn’t, the qualifying co-owner can claim a prorated portion of the credit. If co-owners qualify, they must file separate applications and the credit is prorated among them. In total they can claim the full credit.
Your credit is applied against your property tax bill before it is sent to you. Once you qualify for the senior school property tax credit the first time, you do not have to re-apply each year.
In Kent County, Delaware, there are exemptions for homeowners who are age 65 or older or totally disabled. The exemption is a reduction in the taxable assessment. To qualify for this exemption you must have been a resident of Delaware for the previous five years, unless you are a veteran with a 100% service-related disability. You must have resided in the home as your principal residence for at least one year, with the same exception for disabled veterans. And your adjusted gross annual income must not be more than $12,700 if you are single, or $22,000 if married. For these purposes, adjusted gross income does not include social security, railroad retirement or disability income. You should contact the Kent County tax assessor to apply for the exemption. Once you are approved you do not have to file again each year for the exemption for being over 65. If you are disabled you need to re-apply unless your disability is certified as permanent.
In Sussex County, there is an exemption of $12,500 of the assessed value for your home for school and county property taxes if you are 65 or older or totally disabled. To qualify, you must have resided in the home for the past five years and your income excluding social security must not be more than $6,000 a year if you are single and $7,500 if married. You should contact the Sussex County tax assessor to apply for this exemption.
There is also a Sussex County property tax subsidy. To qualify for this subsidy you must have resided on the property for the past five years. Your annual income cannot be more than $15,800 or $20,000 if you are married, and you must own less than $15,000 of liquid assets or real estate. The subsidy is an exemption of $16,000 of assessed value for the county property tax. To apply for the subsidy, you should contact the Sussex County tax assessor. You need to re-apply for this subsidy each year.
In New Castle County, homeowners over age 65 or disabled may qualify for a property tax exemption of up to $32,000 of assessed value. To qualify, you must have been a legal resident of Delaware for the three preceding years and the assessed value of your home must not be more than $125,000. To qualify for a reduction of county and school taxes, your annual income excluding social security and railroad retirement must be less than $15,000 or $19,000 if married filing jointly. If your annual income is less than $50,000 you can qualify for a reduction in just the county taxes. To claim this exemption, seniors should file the Senior Exemption Application and disabled homeowners should file the Disability Exemption Application.
If you qualify for the over age 65 or disabled exemption in New Castle County, you can also apply for the sewer cleanout reimbursement if you live outside Wilmington, Newark, or Middletown. The maximum reimbursement is $75 per year. You should file the Sewer Cleanout Reimbursement Exemption Application.
Application for Senior School Property Tax Credit – Delaware Department of Finance
Delaware Property Tax Rates – Delaware Economic Development Office
Disability Exemption Application – New Castle County, Delaware
Frequently Asked Questions – Kent County Assessment Office
School Property Tax Relief for Individuals Age 65 or Over – Delaware Department of Finance
Senior Exemption Application – New Castle County, Delaware
Sewer Cleanout Reimbursement Exemption Application – New Castle County, Delaware
Sussex County Council Property Tax Assistance Programs – Sussex County, Delaware
Tax Assessment / Exemptions – New Castle County, Delaware