Chapter 121
2015 -- S 0955
Enacted 06/22/2015

A N   A C T

Introduced By: Senators E O`Neill, Cote, and P Fogarty
Date Introduced: May 28, 2015

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. Section 44-3-16.2 of the General Laws in Chapter 44-3 entitled "Property
Subject to Taxation" is hereby amended to read as follows:
     44-3-16.2. North Smithfield -- Tax stabilization for certain persons age sixty-five
(65) and over. -- (a) Definitions:
      (1) "Qualified senior" for the purpose of this section means any person who shall satisfy
the criteria in subsection (A)(i) or (ii) or (iii); and all of the criteria of subsections (B) -- (J)
      (A) (i) who Who is age sixty-five (65) or more if single or widowed;
      (ii) who Who, if married, at least one taxpayer who has attained age sixty-five (65) as
long as the taxpayers' spouse is at least fifty (50) years of age;
      (iii) who Who, if widowed, over age fifty (50) whose spouse was at least age sixty-five
(65) prior to death and either spouse was a participant under this ordinance prior to death;
      (B) whose Whose home is a single family single-family home (condominium
ownership not eligible);
      (C) whose Whose North Smithfield home is the taxpayer's principle principal residence
and that of the spouse (if living);
      (D) who Who is a resident of the State of Rhode Island for income tax purposes, as is
the spouse (if living);
      (E) who Who is not a registered voter of any other city, town town, or political
subdivision of Rhode Island or any other state, nor is the spouse (if living);
      (F) who Who has resided in the principle principal residence for the past seven (7) years,
as has the spouse (if living);
      (G) whose Whose real estate tax previously billed is not delinquent by more than four
(4) quarters;
      (H) who Who would otherwise qualify but has been forced to relocate residence through
no fault of the taxpayer (e.g., in cases of fire, natural disaster disaster, or taking of property by
eminent domain by a state or local government);
      (I) whose Whose real estate tax bill is more than five percent (5%) of the total income of
the taxpayer, or, if living, of both spouses. "Total income" means the total of adjusted gross
adjusted-gross income per US individual income tax return, Form 1040, 1040-A (or the like)
(or the like), plus non-taxable income such as non-taxed social security benefits, welfare
benefits, child support receipts, municipal bond interest receipts receipts, and other non-taxable
items of income;
      (J) who Who completes the application process and who attests that the individual
meets, or, if living, both spouses meet meet, all of the qualifications as outlined above.
      (2) "Frozen Deferred Yearly Tax" for the purpose of this section means the amounts
otherwise due for the assessment date of the year in which the taxpayer turned age sixty-four
(64), or the year of the date of first application to the program whichever is later in time, and the
tax assessed the following July.
      (3) "Deferred Amount" for the purpose of this section means as the difference between
the frozen yearly tax and the amount of tax that would otherwise be due and payable if the
applicant did not qualify under this program.
      (4) "Disqualifying Event" for the purpose of this section means to include any and all of
the following:
      (A) Sale of the property;
      (B) Transfer of the property to a family member without life tenancy;
      (C) The point in time when the property ceases to be the taxpayer's principle residence;
      (D) Written request by the applicant to be removed from the program; or
      (E) Any property whose square footage living space is increased since application and
acceptance under this ordinance.
      (b) Freeze on rate and valuation, and deferral Deferral of tax:
      (1) The town council of the town of North Smithfield may, by ordinance, establish a
freeze on the rate and valuation deferral of taxes on the principle principal residence of a qualified
senior located in the town of North Smithfield.
      (2) Upon proper application, approved by the administrator or his/her designee, the
assessment and tax will be frozen at the frozen yearly tax deferred. The deferred amount will be
deferred, without the accumulation of interest, until the occurrence of a disqualifying event.
      (3) A deferral under this ordinance shall not be disallowed if the owner applicant has
only a life estate in the property or if the property is in the name of a parent or one or more
children or in a trust for the benefit of the otherwise qualified resident and the owners submit an
affidavit that the qualified resident is the principle owner or present beneficiary and title is held in
that manner for estate planning purposes only.
      (4) A deferral is not allowed for any improvement for outbuildings such as garages or
storage sheds, attached or not, to the principle residence once application and acceptance into the
tax freeze program occurs.
      (c) Application Process:
      (1) The taxpayer shall initially apply for eligibility in the tax stabilization program
between the dates of January 1 and March 31, for taxes assessed the following July of that year.
After initial approval, the taxpayer must sign each year thereafter a statement attesting to the fact
that the taxpayer and the spouse continue to qualify under the ordinance provisions.
      (2) Participation is optional at the taxpayer's option.
      (3) Failure to file subsequent statements of eligibility; or the occurrence of a
disqualifying event of a temporary nature; or the elimination of a disqualifying event that no
longer applies, shall require re-entry into the program and full reapplication and recertification,
and shall nullify the freeze and any deferral for the tax year in which the disqualifying event
occurred, and past deferred amounts shall be due under subsection (e). In such case, the frozen
yearly tax shall be calculated as of the year of re-entry into the program.
      (d) Recording of deferral; Lien:
      (1) All properties subject to the tax freeze and deferral program will have the deferral
noted on the deed and the deferral will be registered and recorded with the North Smithfield town
clerk. Normal recording fees will apply.
      (2) All taxes deferred shall constitute a lien on the real estate for which the deferment
was granted until paid in accordance with the provisions ordinance.
      (e) Payment of deferral:
      (1) All deferrals must be paid in full within six (6) months of a disqualifying event in the
case of a death of the legal owner of the property, at closing and conveyance in the event of a sale
and within three (3) months of any other disqualifying event.
      (2) Failure to report the disqualifying event, and/or to pay the deferral tax when due, will
carry a maximum penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) per month, or portion thereof, and
applicable interest on the currently assessed tax without regard to the freeze provisions contained
herein. Interest will be assessed and due in the same manner as other past due tax receivables and
will apply to all amounts previously deferred as well as current amounts due.
      (f) Appeal: - Appeals of all decisions as to the application, administration, eligibility or
other matter relating to this ordinance shall be made in writing to the North Smithfield town
      (g) Severability: - If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person
or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of
the chapter, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end
the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.
     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.