Aging in Place News & Info

Age In Place,ADA Home Modifications: Should They Be Taxed?

Reader Cheryl Tieszen sent a letter to Randy Turley, Chief Counsel of the Missouri State Tax CommissionCheryl Tieszen, Retired (OT) Occupational Therapist questioning the logic of taxing age in place related home modifications. Her letter is below and she welcomes your comments:

Randy,

For your consideration, logical or illogical?  The citizens of Missouri are taxed extra (see extra features on their assessment form) on their real property for functional additions to their homes that enable:

  1. a person to age in place, continuing to live at home if they become ill, injured, or handicapped,
  2. to have multi-generational families live together and take care of each other regardless of stage of life and physical capabilities,
  3. to enable handicapped people access to homes to be included in a social network and be a part of a community.

From what I understand, extra features would include the following:

  • Elevator
  • Dumbwaiter
  • Wide doors & doorways
  • Walk-in showers/tubs
  • Grab bars
  • Exterior accessibility such as concrete walks/drives/ramps with minimal door threshold to enable wheelchair access
  • Large wheel chair accessible bathrooms

I was told that these items would be included as extras and they would be added to the value of the structure for taxation, but would probably not add to the market value.  I believe that these features are necessary, they are functional additions to a structure that enable a person to perform activities of daily living.  They are not a luxury.  And the addition of these features in new construction or in a remodel should be encouraged.  People should receive a tax break to help offset the costs of these features that make a structure usable for all ages and abilities or these features should be exempt.  Dont we want to keep people in their homes and out of nursing homes, dont we want to encourage community, dont we want to have elderly family members come visit their families and be able to get to the second floor for Christmas dinner if they are in a wheelchair.  I could go on and on.  This is illogical and it is not right.

Yes, I have an elevator.  My knee is held together with screws and it is likely that in the future I will not be able to climb stairs.  And I have an elderly parent that can not climb stairs and has to have the elevator to leave the basement.  I have an Uncle in a wheelchair that requires an elevator, wide doorways, grab bars, wheel chair accessibility.

This is a request for a consideration for new legislation to make ADA compliant additions to a residential structure exempt from extra taxation.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Tieszen, MOT
Occupational Therapist Retired

10 Responses to Age In Place,ADA Home Modifications: Should They Be Taxed?

  1. I think the points made are more than valid. Many people have aging, or disabled family members living with us, and these type of “upgrades” are simply necessity. Are these “extra’s” set in stone in home assessments, or is it flexible to people’s unique needs. This issue is well worth the time it takes to discuss it. Remember you may need to have wheelchair access someday too!!! As it seems to stand now, you will get to pay more property tax if you become disabled. Who would have ever thought!!!

    • Thanks for your comment. As far as I know from information provided to me from assessors and the state of Missouri the “extra’s” are on your assessment and you pay taxes on them every year.

  2. An extra tax makes no sense whatsoever! A tax exemption to allow people to remain in their homes or the homes of family or loved ones would be a much better arrangement. This kind of familial care needs to be encouraged; not discouraged!

    • Thanks for your comment Rose Anne. I agree and changes need to made. Awareness is the first step.

  3. State and local government need to wake up and realize that making it easier for seniors to stay in their homes and communities should be a priority. Boomers represent a powerful economic force. Their growing need for services support local job creation.They contribute to the tax base without burdening the school system. We should be seen as a “win win”.

    • I agree. Very good points. Making your home accessible should be a priority and these adaptations should not increase the assessed value of your home resulting in higher taxes.

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