CHAPTER 195

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 22, DELAWARE CODE, ENTITLED "MUNICIPALITIES" BY ADDING THERETO A NEW CHAPTER RELATING TO EXEMPTIONS FROM TAXATION ON REAL PROPERTY OF RESIDENTS OF MUNICIPALITIES, WITH A POPULATION IN EXCESS OF 50,000 PERSONS, OF THE AGE OF 65 OR MORE YEARS HAVING AN INCOME NOT IN EXCESS OF $3,000 PER YEAR.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 22, Delaware Code, is amended by adding a new chapter thereto to read as follows:

CHAPTER 10

EXEMPTION FROM MUNICIPAL TAXATION ON REAL

PROPERTY—RESIDENTS OVER 65 YEARS OF AGE

§ 1001. Definitions

As used in this chapter,

"Income" means all income from whatever source derived including but not limited to, realized capital gains and, in their entirety, pension, annuity, retirement and social security benefits. for any tax year for which an exemption is claimed, "income" shall be determined to be equal in amount to the income received during the calendar year or the taxpayer's fiscal year ended immediately preceding October 1 of the pre-tax year, but no taxpayer shall use a fiscal year basis unless he so elects to do and files his federal income tax return on such basis.

"Pretax year" means the calendar year immediately preceding the "tax year".

"Resident" means one legally domiciled within the Municipality for a period of 3 years immediately preceding October of the pretax year. Mere seasonal or temporary residence within the Municipality of whatever duration, shall not constitute domicile within the Municipality for the purposes of this chapter. Absence from the Municipality for a period of 12 months shall be prima facie evidence of abandonment of domicile in the Municipality. The burden of establishing legal domicile within the Municipality shall be upon the claimant.

"Tax year" means the calendar year in which the municipal real estate tax is due and payable.

"Family" means husband and wife; a man and woman cohabitating as husband and wife in a home in which there are also children in esse or en ventre sa mere, of either or both; parent and child; guardian and ward and also any group or persons residing together in one home under one head who are related by blood or marriage.

§ 1002. Qualifications and amount of exemption

Every person, a resident of a Municipality of this State, with a population in excess of 50,000 persons, of the age of 65 or more years, having an income not in excess of $3,000 per year and residing in a dwelling house owned by him which is a constituent part of his real property, shall be entitled, on proper claim being made therefor, to exemption from municipal taxation on such real property to an assessed valuation not exceeding $5,000 in the aggregate, except that no such exemption shall be permitted where any member of said person's family lives in said dwelling house and has an income in excess of $3,000.

§ 1003. Application for exemption

No exemption from taxation on the valuation of real property as provided in this chapter, shall be allowed except upon written application therefor, which application shall be on the form prescribed by the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer and provided for the use of claimants under Section 8133 of Title 9, Delaware Code. A copy of each application filed with the assessor of a county taxing district pursuant to Section 8133, Chapter 81, Title 9, Delaware Code, shall be furnished by said assessor to the municipal taxing official of any Municipality in which real property, which is the subject of such application, is located and shall be deemed an application for exemption under this chapter.

An application for exemption under this chapter shall be filed with the county assessor of the taxing district on or before November 1 of the pretax year.

§ 1004. Contents of application

Every fact essential to support a claim for exemption under this chapter shall exist on October 1 of the pretax year. Every application by a claimant therefor shall establish that he was, on October 1 of the pretax year, (a) a resident of the Municipality for the period required, (b) of the age of 65 or more years, (c) the owner of a dwelling house which is a constituent part of the real property for which the exemption is claimed, (d) residing in said dwelling house. Such application shall also establish that his income for the yearly period as provided by this chapter did not exceed $3,000, and that no member of said person's family lives in said dwelling house and has an income in excess of $3,000.

§ 1005. Allowance of exemption

If an application is approved by the municipal taxing official, he shall allow an exemption from taxation against the assessed valuation of the real property assessed to the claimant in the amount of the claim approved by him.

§ 1006. Continuance of exemption

A claim having been filed with and allowed by the municipal taxing official shall continue in force from year to year thereafter without the necessity for further claim as long as the claimant shall be entitled to exemption under this chapter, but the claimant shall be required yearly to establish his income and the municipal taxing official may at any time require the filing of a new application or such proof as he shall deem necessary to establish the right of the claimant to continuance of the exemption. It shall be the duty of every claimant to inform the municipal taxing official of any change in his status or property which may affect his right to continuance of the exemption.

§ 1007. Tenants in common or joint tenants

(a) Where title to property on which an exemption is claimed is held by claimant and another or others, either as tenants in common or as joint tenants, claimant shall not be allowed an exemption against his interest in said property in excess of the assessed valuation of his proportionate share in said property, which proportionate share, for the purposes of this chapter, shall be deemed to be equal to that of each of the other tenants, unless it is shown that the interests in question are not equal, in which event claimant's proportionate share shall be as shown.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall preclude more than one tenant, whether title be held in common or joint tenancy, from claiming exemption against the property so held, but no more than the equivalent of one full exemption in regard to such property shall be allowed in any year, and in any case in which the claimants cannot agree as to the apportionment thereof, the exemption shall be apportioned between or among them in proportion to their interest. Property held by husband and wife, as tenants by the entirety, shall be deemed wholly owned by each tenant, but not more than one exemption in regard to such property shall be allowed in any year.

(c) Right to claim exemption under this chapter shall extend to property the title to which is held by a partnership to the extent of the claimant's interest as a partner therein, and by a guardian, trustee, committee, conservator or other fiduciary for any person who would otherwise be entitled to claim exemption under this chapter, but not to property the title to which is held by a corporation.

§ 1008. Appeals

An aggrieved taxpayer may appeal from the disposition of an exemption claim under this chapter in the same manner as is provided for appeals from assessments generally.

Section 2. The first tax year upon which this act shall apply shall be the calendar year 1970.

Approved July 1, 1969.