If you have ever looked at the bottom-third section of your quarterly real estate bill, you would have seen a chance to donate to the Elderly and Disabled Taxation Aid Fund. This fund was established at a Special Town Meeting back in October 2003 when the voters of Tyngsborough adopted Massachusetts General Law Ch. 60, Sec. 3D which authorizes voluntary contributions to defray a portion of the real estate taxes of the town’s elderly and/or disabled persons of low income. No tax dollars support this fund. All monies are obtained through the generosity of caring and concerned town residents.
The Aid Fund is controlled by a five-member committee consisting of the Chair of the Board of Assessors, the Town Treasurer, and three citizens at large appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The committee meets twice a year to consider confidential applications submitted by residents of Tyngsborough who are elderly or disabled. Elderly applicants must be at least 60 years old. Disabled applicants are those who have suffered an income loss due to illness or accident. All applicants must be the titled property owner and must file a form along with their birth certificate, a copy of their last income tax return, and a physician’s letter if appropriate. The applicant’s gross income must be less than $40,000. The committee considers all applications that meet these criteria and selects those with the greatest financial need. Those taxpayers receive a partial tax credit on their real estate bill and money from the Taxation Aid Fund is used to offset the difference to the Town.
The ability of the committee to approve applications for aid is subject to the availability of funds. Unfortunately, contributions to this fund have dropped off in the last 7 years to only about one-third of previous levels, drastically limiting the number of families receiving help.
How can you contribute? In previous years voluntary donations could only easily be made by townspeople who paid their real estate tax bill by check. This past January the Town Treasurer added the voluntary donation message to the excise bills as well. More recently, tax payers who prefer online payments were allowed to contribute when paying their bills through the town’s web site. Now, when you click on “Pay your Town Fees Online” a new contribution option appears; donations of any amount are allowed. A receipt for you contribution will be emailed to you.
Please consider supporting this worthwhile fund. It is a great way to help those in need at the local level. Know that every cent of your generous donation goes directly to help elderly and disabled Tyngsborough residents.