Tax exemptions opened to Elders from throughout the region

Photo of Bethel in the moonlight by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

The Bethel City Council passed an ordinance that removes the Bethel residency requirement for senior citizens sales tax exemption cards.

Any senior citizen, even if they are not from Bethel, who are age 65 or older can apply for a tax exemption card.

Back in 2017, the City of Bethel amended the sales tax chapter of the Bethel Municipal Code (BMC) to modify how the municipality issues senior sales tax exemption cards.

The 2017 amendment allowed Bethel resident senior citizens to qualify for the exemption, but not senior citizens who did not reside in Bethel.

Ordinance 21-28, sponsored by City Council member Mark Springer, passed on June 22, 2021.

“The City of Bethel recognizes that the cost of living in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region is high and wishes to promote affordability and tax relief for the elders throughout the region, many of whom come to Bethel to obtain goods and services,” states Ordinance 21-28.

For a senior citizen exemption card, seniors must be at least 65 years of age on January 1st of the year for which the exemption card is applied for. Proof of residence within the city of Bethel was stricken.

Seniors requesting an exemption card can apply at the finance department on a form approved by the finance director. An exemption card expires five (5) years from the date of issuance for senior citizens.

According to the ordinance, if a person who is authorized to receive a senior citizen exemption authorization card is physically or mentally disabled so that the applicant is physically unable to use the card, the applicant may designate up to two (2) proxies on their exemption application.

Thank you to the City of Bethel and the Bethel City Council. Ord. 21-18 passed unanimously, 6-0.

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