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The City Journals

Millions of dollars in tax relief available for struggling residents of Salt Lake County

Jul 08, 2019 03:15PM ● By Jennifer J Johnson

The “Circuit Breaker” and “Indigent” tax-relief programs through the Salt Lake County Treasurer’s Office are especially designed for elderly property owners in need of support. (chevskij/Needpix.com/pixabay.com)

By Jennifer J. Johnson | [email protected]

Although reaching 75 years of age can be seen as a “diamond” anniversary, 75-year-old West Valley resident Andi felt her life was all rough, no diamond. She was at a loss, feeling helpless about how to pay $1,500 in property tax on her $170,000 home. 

Trenton, age 50, had just moved to Utah and settled on Herriman, which he enjoyed for its peaceful, quiet community feel. As a disabled veteran, he found his economic opportunities sparse in the bedroom community. The stress of his owing more than $4,000 in taxes was wearing on him. As a veteran used to having to endure long lines for things like medical care — but feeling extreme stress doing so — he was leery of venturing out for the support he knew he might be awarded.

Salt Lake City resident Ada had been receiving financial support from her daughter. The proud 80-year-old woman was humiliated enough, asking for help from family and, given her minimal fixed income, did not know what to do to resolve the more than $1,000 she owed in tax.

The coverage of the County

The Salt Lake County Treasurer’s office has five different tax-relief programs to help folks like Andi, Trenton and Ruth — all fictional names for some real Salt Lake County neighbors, who have been assisted by programs available through the SLCO Treasurer.

The three are a few of many individuals who have received peace of mind by seeking support from Salt Lake County’s varied tax-relief programs. According to Joy Hayes, a tax-relief supervisor with the SLCO Treasurer, in 2018, more than $10 million was granted by the County, assisting those in need. 

After approaching SLCO about their situations, this is the outcome for each: 

Andi – Leveraging two different programs considering age and income, SLCO forgave all but $37.87 of the nearly $1,500 the 75-year-old owed.

Trenton – The crowd-weary disabled veteran, within minutes, had his tax burden halved, thanks to disabled-veteran tax forgiveness programs through the County. The new figure was infinitely more palatable on his disabled vet benefits compensation. “He couldn’t believe he had been helped so quickly and so efficiently,” recalled Hayes. “He mentioned he had moved several times and this was the first office where he felt appreciated and did not get the run-around.”

Ada – After her daughter told her she was no longer able to financially contribute, she learned about the SLCO Tax Forgiveness programs. Feeling embarrassed and humiliated, Ada came to the SLCO Complex at 2100 S. State Street and begrudgingly told Treasurer’s office personnel that, “she felt she had no choice,” Hayes said. “After looking at her income? It was clear that her tax liability would be dismissed.” According to Hayes, the 80-year-old woman cried tears of joy and “thanked us over and over.” Her only regret? “She wished she had had the courage to come in earlier.”

Support from the SLCO Treasurer’s office is “invaluable,” for ensuring quality of life for residents in need of support, Hayes said.

Tax relief comes in threes – your checklist of how to apply

The only thing people need to do? Three things.

First, lose the fear and avoidance. As is seen by the examples of Andi, Trenton and Ada, SLCO personnel are not just doing their jobs to help residents in need, but are personally fulfilled by the impact they make in helping others, Hayes said.

Second, reach out and ask for help. Ask for help by calling SLCO, engaging with their website or coming in to the office. Have SLCO representatives clearly advise what documentation is needed so you have a checklist of all required for your tax-relief application.
SLCO Treasurer phone 385-468-8326
Website www.slco.org/treasurer/tax-relief-applications

Third, do it swiftly. The 2019 deadline for property-tax relief is Tues., Sept. 3. Remember that SLCO closes at 5 p.m. and documentation is required, so make sure to check in with what is needed ahead of time.