To be eligible for SCHE, you must meet age, income, and residency requirements. You aren’t eligible if:
- You receive the Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE). You can’t receive both SCHE and DHE at the same time.
- The property is owned by a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
- You participate in the 421a or 421b exemption program for your primary residence. You aren't eligible to apply for personal property exemptions until the 421a or 421b exemptions expire. If your exemption is expiring, you can ask to have the exemption revoked and the personal exemption applied instead.
To qualify for an exemption that begins on July 1, you must be 65 or older by the following December 31. If you co-own your property with a spouse, registered domestic partner, or sibling, only one of you needs to be 65 or older. For other co-ownerships such as a parent and children, all owners must be 65 or older.
Whether or not they live on the property, the total combined income (amount filed on the Federal Income Tax Return) of all owners and their spouses must be $58,399 or less.
If you need help understanding what should be included as income, you should refer to the application instructions or contact a licensed tax professional.
The property must be the primary residence for all owners to be eligible for SCHE.
A primary residence is the dwelling unit in which the owner actually lives and maintains a continuous and physical presence. This means you must live there most of the year and it must be the address where you are registered to vote.
If an owner doesn’t live on the property, they must be:
- Living full-time in a residential health care facility, or
- Absent from the property because of a divorce, legal separation, or abandonment
Life Estates, Trusts, and LLCs
If you hold a life estate in the property, only the person with the life estate is the owner for SCHE eligibility purposes. The owner with the life estate must complete the application. Eligibility will be based on their income and if they meet all eligibility requirements. You must submit proof of income and a copy of the life estate with the application.
If the most recent deed says "Retained life estate," the person retaining the life estate can apply and receive the exemption if they meet the eligibility requirements.
A trust is an arrangement that allows an individual or group to manage a property and financial assets. A beneficiary or trustee is the person designated as the recipient of funds or property.
If the property is owned by a trust, only the qualifying beneficiary (trustee) can apply for the exemption. The beneficiary should submit proof of their income and a copy of the trust with the application.
The name of the beneficiary/trustee will be found within the trust documents which should specifically state who has the right to live on the property.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business, regardless of the number of owners or their relationship to each other. Property owned by LLCs and other businesses are not eligible for personal exemptions or abatements.