Juneau's senior sales tax exemption
More details on the changes
Our lead story in last month’s edition on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s decision to end the senior sales tax exemption left out a lot of information. This was largely due to the last-minute deadline we were dealing with: we wanted to be sure to highlight this action, since it could have ramifications for other areas of the state. But we need now to flesh out particulars we’ve learned about that may or may not mitigate the impact of this action to seniors. Here are a few of them, as gleaned from stories in the Juneau Empire and comments from readers who contacted us about the story:
• The new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2016
• The sales tax exemption will still be available to all seniors for essential items, including heating fuel, electricity, city water and sewage, garbage service, or food.
• Low income seniors, those making less than 2.5 times the federal poverty level, will continue to be exempt – although there is a limit – from sales tax on “non-essential” items not included above
• The exemption will work differently than before. All seniors will have to pay sales tax at the point of sale on any non-essential items, beginning Jan. 1. Seniors qualifying as lower-income will be eligible for a rebate on these purchases, based on their income. This includes senior couples earning less than $49,800 per year, or a single senior making less than $36,800.
The rebates will be awarded once a year, in September. The maximum rebate for a single senior will be $325, and $650 for a married couple.