A N A C T
RELATING TO THE TOWN OF JAMESTOWN
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 44-3-13.6 of the General Laws in Chapter 44-3 entitled "Property Subject to Taxation" is hereby amended to read as follows:
44-3-13.6. Exemption of persons 65 years and over - Jamestown. -- (a) The town council of the town of Jamestown may, by ordinance, exempt from valuation for taxation, the real property situated in the town and owned and occupied by any person sixty-five (65) years or over, which exemption is in addition to any and all other exemptions from taxation to which the person may be otherwise entitled.
(b) (1) The town council of the town of Jamestown may, from time to time, by ordinance, make changes in the amount of exemption granted and the rules and regulations as it deems necessary to promote the purpose of this section. The schedule of exemptions is as follows: (i) Taxpayers with an income of not less than one hundred and eighty percent (180%) and not more than two hundred percent (200%) of the federal poverty guideline an exemption of twenty percent (20%) of the assessment cap or the assessed valuation, whichever is less; (ii) Taxpayers with an income of not less than one hundred and sixty percent (160%) and not more than one hundred and eighty percent (180%) of the federal poverty guideline an exemption of thirty percent (30%) of the assessment cap or the assessed valuation, whichever is less; (iii) Taxpayers with an income of not less than one hundred and forty percent (140%) and not more than one hundred and sixty percent (160%) of the federal poverty guideline an exemption of forty percent (40%) of the assessment cap or the assessed valuation, whichever is less; (iv) Taxpayers with an income of not less than one hundred and twenty percent (120%) and not more than one hundred and forty percent (140%) of the federal poverty guideline an exemption of fifty percent (50%) of the assessment cap or the assessed valuation, whichever is less; and (v) Taxpayers with an income of not more than one hundred and twenty percent (120%) of the federal poverty guideline an exemption of sixty percent (60%) of the assessment cap or the assessed valuation, whichever is less.
(2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this section, any person receiving an exemption pursuant to chapter 359 of the public laws January session 1984, at the time of the adoption of the ordinance contemplated in this section and whose property is assessed in excess of the assessment cap and who qualifies for an exemption under the terms of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter shall receive an exemption based on the assessment value, not limited by the assessment cap.
(3) For purposes of this section, the income described in subsection (b)(1) is that specified in the federal poverty guideline for one person for all individual owners and that specified for a family of two (2) for all joint owners, including husband and wife. Only one exemption is granted to co-tenants, joint tenants, and tenants by the entirety, even though all the co-tenants, joint tenants and tenants by the entirety are sixty-five (65) years of age or over and occupy the property. In addition to the requirements of domicile within the town of Jamestown at the time of making application, the applicant must have been a resident of the town for a period of five (5) years ending with the date of assessment for the year for which exemption is claimed; and further, the applicant for this exemption must have owned and had title to the property
for where he or she resided during the same five (5) year period; provided, however, that the exemption shall not be allowed in favor of any person unless the individual has presented to the assessor a true and exact account of his or her ratable estate as provided for in sections 44-5-15 and 44-5-16 for the year for which exemption is claimed, together with evidence that he or she is entitled to the exemption.
(c) No income-bearing residential property, business or combination of business and residential property, owned and occupied by any person or persons sixty-five (65) years of age or over is entitled to the exemption provided in this section. It is the express purpose of this section to confine the exemption to residential property exclusively used as residential property by the owners of the property. Professional persons who operate and conduct their respective professions from their residences are not entitled to the exemption provided for in this section. The practice of the profession from any residence is deemed, for the purpose of this section, to constitute it income-bearing property.
(d) All exemptions terminate upon the conveyance of the subject property, death of the person excepted, or the moving of the person from the town of Jamestown; also when the subject property is altered as to character and use that the property becomes subject to the provisions of
section 44-3-2 subsection (e) of this section.
(e) Definitions, when used in this section:
(i) "Federal poverty guideline" means the poverty guidelines issued each year by the department of health and human services and published in the federal register.
(ii) "Income" in
section 44-3-1 subsection (b) of this section means annual cash receipts before taxes from all sources except as provided in this section. Income includes money wages and salaries before any deductions; net receipts from nonfarm self-employment (receipts from a person's own unincorporated business, professional enterprise, or partnership, after deductions for business expenses); net receipts from farm self-employment (receipts from a farm which one operates as an owner, renter, or sharecropper, after deductions for farm operating expenses); regular payments from social security, railroad retirement, unemployment compensation, strike benefits from union funds, workers' compensation, veterans' payments, public assistance (including aid to families with dependent children or temporary assistance for needy families, supplemental security income, and non-federally-funded general assistance or general relief money payments), and training stipends; alimony, child support, and military family allotments or other regular support from an absent family member or someone not living in the household; private pensions, government employee pensions (including military retirement pay), and regular insurance or annuity payments; college or university scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantships; and dividends, interest, net rental income, net royalties, periodic receipts from estate or trusts, and net gambling or lottery winnings.
"Income" does not include the following types of money received; capital gains; any assets drawn down as withdrawals from a bank, the sale of property, a house, or a car; or tax refunds, gifts, loans, lump-sum inheritances, one-time insurance payments, or compensation for injury. Also excluded are noncash benefits, such as the employer-paid or union-paid portion of health insurance or other employee fringe benefits, food or housing received in lieu of wages, the value of food and fuel produced and consumed on farms, the imputed value of rent from own-occupied nonfarm or farm housing, and federal noncash benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, and housing assistance.
(iii) "Resident" means one legally domiciled within the town of Jamestown for a period of five (5) years ending with the date of assessment for a year for which the exemption is claimed. Mere seasonal or temporary residence within the town, of whatever duration, does not constitute domicile within the town for the purposes of this section. Absence from the town for a period of twelve (12) months is prima facie evidence of abandonment of domicile in the town. The burden of establishing legal domicile within the town is upon the applicant.
(iv) "Due evidence": No exemption from taxation on the valuation of real property, as provided in this section, is allowed, except upon the written application, which application is on a form prescribed by the assessor. It is the burden of the applicant to prove his/her eligibility for the exemption in this section and the tax assessor may require the applicant to produce supporting information including but not limited to federal and/or state income tax returns and birth certificate. If this information is required, the tax assessor shall maintain the confidentiality of the information. The assessor may, at any time, inquire into the right of a claimant to the continuance of an exemption under this section; and, for that purpose, he or she may require the filing of a new application or the submission of any proof that the assessor deems necessary to determine the right of the claimant to continuance of the exemption.
(v) "Assessment cap" means the sum of one hundred forty-two thousand dollars ($142,000) as the sum may be adjusted from time to time as provided in this section. At any times that the tax assessor updates the assessments for real property in the town, the tax assessor shall adjust the assessment cap by the percentage increase or decrease between the median residential property value based on the aggregate residential property assessments then made under the new revaluation, or statistical updates, and the median residential property value under the previous revaluation, or statistical updates.
(vi) "Median residential property value" means the assessment which is the midpoint of the frequency distribution of residential property assessments or the assessment above which and below which fifty percent (50%) of the assessments lie.
(f) Nothing contained in this section abrogates or affects the authority conferred upon the assessor by the provisions of section 44-3-4 as amended.
(g) (i) The question of the acceptance or rejection of this section shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the town of Jamestown, entitled to vote upon a proposition to impose a tax or for the expenditure of money, at any special or regular financial town meeting to be held after the passage of this act [March 12, 1999], and no other action shall be taken under the authority of this section unless a majority of the electors voting on this question at the town meeting vote to accept this section, the vote to be taken by paper ballot or by standing vote.
(ii) Any action taken in the year 1999 by the town of Jamestown at an annual or special financial town meeting shall be held as valid and effective as if this section were in effect at the time of issue, posting and publication of the warrant for this meeting and at the time of the taking of this action.
(iii) The town clerk of the town of Jamestown shall immediately after the town meeting certify to the secretary of state the result of this vote upon the question submitted.
(iv) Following the approval of this question at the 1999 or any subsequent financial town meeting, any ordinance passed by the town council of Jamestown to provide tax relief for the elderly citizens of Jamestown shall become effective upon passage; provided, however, that any ordinance adoption is preceded by a public hearing.
SECTION 2. The question of the acceptance or rejection of this act shall be submitted to the qualified electors of said town entitled to vote upon a proposition to impose a tax or for the expenditure of money, at an annual special financial town meeting or at any special or regular election to be held after the passage of this act, and no other action shall be taken under the authority of this act unless a majority of said electors voting on said question vote to accept this act.
The town clerk of the town of Jamestown shall forthwith after said election certify to the Secretary of State, the result of this vote upon the question submitted.
Following the approval of this question in 2000 or any subsequent year, any ordinance passed by the town council of Jamestown to provide tax relief for the elderly citizens of Jamestown, in accordance with this act, shall become effective upon passage.
SECTION 3. This section and section 2 of this act shall take effect upon passage and section 1 shall take effect if and when the electors of the town of Jamestown qualified to vote upon a proposition to impose a tax or for the expenditure of money vote to accept this act.