Reader Cheryl Tieszen sent a letter to Randy Turley, Chief Counsel of the Missouri State Tax Commission questioning the logic of taxing age in place related home modifications. Her letter is below and she welcomes your comments:
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:
- a person to age in place, continuing to live at home if they become ill, injured, or handicapped,
- to have multi-generational families live together and take care of each other regardless of stage of life and physical capabilities,
- 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:
- 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.
Cheryl Tieszen, MOT
Occupational Therapist Retired