Approval of Poverty Exemption Extension Makes Applying Easier for Residents

Approval of Poverty Exemption Extension Makes Applying Easier for Residents

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The approval of the Poverty Exemption Program extension by the Meridian Township Board in Tuesday’s virtual meeting on Feb. 2 means residents who have been granted a poverty exemption and are also on fixed incomes, no longer need to apply for an exemption every year.

The Poverty Exemption Program allows low-income resident households with limited assets to have their property taxes fully waived for that year. Until now, the poverty exemption has been granted by the Township Board of Review for the current year only and property owners had to apply each year to get an exemption.

However, now that the Meridian Township Board has approved the extension of the program, qualified households and individuals who meet the poverty guidelines who applied for an exemption in 2019 or 2020, won’t need to revisit the Board of Review in 2021.

Michigan Public Act 253 of 2020 made changes to the statute governing poverty exemptions, stating that now exemptions granted in 2019 and 2020 will carry forward to the next three years.

Meridian Township Treasurer Phil Deschaine said the Township Board is adopting this public act for people who have been granted a poverty exemption and who are also on fixed incomes, like social security SSI or other disability type programs.

“We’re adopting the new act so that they don’t have to come in every year and apply, that we can extend this over three years, saving them the trouble of having to come in because their income hasn’t changed,” Deschaine said. “There’s no need for them to come in and reapply, that’s better for them and better for the Board of Review.”

However, Deschaine said if an individual’s income has changed, such as an income increase, they would need to come in and speak to the Board of Review again.

Deschaine said he believes people should know that there is an exemption from property taxes, if you meet certain poverty guidelines.

“If people think they may be eligible, they should call Meridian Township or they can call my office, 853.4140, and we’ll make sure they talk to the right people,” Deschaine said. “There are a lot of people right now hurting. Unemployment is twice what it was a year ago, so for people that are going through hard times, there is a way that we can help them on property taxes if they meet the poverty guidelines.”

Meridian Township residents can find information about the program extension on the Township’s website and newsletter, or if a family has previously applied for the poverty exemption from property taxes, the Township will reach out personally over the phone, Deschaine said.

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