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Deferral program frequently asked questions

Q.    What are the important dates for the program?
A. For the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral program:
  • January 1 to April 15—Applications accepted at the counties.
  • July 1—Date that the newly deferred property’s lien attaches.
  • September 1- Last day to notify department that you do not want the department to pay current year property taxes on November 15.
  • November 15—The department pays property taxes to the county.
  • December 15—Annual statements sent to participants.
For the Special Assessments program:
  • February 1—The department pays the bonding district the assessment amount due for July 1 through December 31
  • August 1—The department pays the bonding district the assessment amount due for January 1 through June 30
(Please note that new applications for the Special Assessments program are no longer being accepted. Existing accounts will continue to be serviced until paid in full.)

Q.    What is the difference between "disqualified" and "inactivated"?

A. Disqualified means that the property was sold, the participant moved away from the property, or the participant has passed away. In either case, the deferred taxes will become due on August 15 of the year after either event. At that time, a revenue agent will be assigned for further collections activity.
Inactivated means the participant no longer meets the eligibility requirements for the program. The program will not pay future property taxes on the participant's behalf until the participant once again meets the requirements (verified through reapplication to the program) or the account becomes disqualified. While inactive, the taxes previously paid by the program are not due, but will continue to earn interest.

Q.    If I have a reverse mortgage, am I eligible for the program?
A. Under HB4039 or HB2510, you may be eligible. See Changes to the Deferral Program for details on these measures. Otherwise, you are most likely not eligible for the program.

Q.    Do I have to have homeowner's insurance to be eligible?
A. Yes. We'll need your insurance company's name (not your insurance agent's name) and your policy number at the time you apply.

Q.    My property is part of an irrevocable family trust. Will that affect my eligibility?
A. Yes, only revocable trusts are allowed on the Deferral Program. It is also suggested that the applicant be a trustee.

Q.    I know I'm not eligible. Do I still have to return the application/re-certification form?
A. Returning the application/recertification is encouraged in order to review your status and make an official determination.

If we don't hear from you, we may contact you to make sure you received the application/re-certification form, or didn’t overlook it.

Q.    Do I report food stamps, energy bill assistance, etc., as income?
A. No. They are exempt from household income.

Q.    Do I include the value of the home in which I live on my list of assets?
A. No. You will need to include the value of any other real property (rental property, land, etc.) that is not a part of your homestead.

Q.    Do I include my certificates of deposit as assets?
A. Yes. You will need to estimate the current value of your CDs based on length to maturity.

Q.    Where do I find my Deferral Program account number?
A. Your Deferral Program account number, often called a reference number, is located near the top of the annual statement that we mail to you every December or on your most recent application/recertification approval letter.

If you cannot locate any of these documents, please contact our office. We can provide you with your account number.

Q.    How did the change from simple interest to compound interest affect my deferred taxes?
A.Taxes deferred for tax years prior to 2011 will still be calculated at simple interest. Only those taxes deferral in tax years 2011 and later will be calculated at compound interest. Click here to see the calculated difference between simple and compound interest.

Q.    What do I do if my spouse died while in the deferral program?
A. Contact our office. You may need to fill out a surviving spouse application.

Q.    I'm married but only my name appears on the house deed. Do my spouse and I apply jointly?
A. No. You must apply as an individual.

Q.    I'm married but only my name appears on the deed. Do I need to include my spouse's income?
A. Yes. You must report total household income, which includes your spouse's income as well as any income generated by others residing in your home.

Q.    I remarried and didn't put my new spouse on the deed. Do we apply jointly?
A.  No; however, you must report total household income, which includes your spouse's income.

Q.    Where can I get a copy of my property tax statement?
A. You must contact the county assessor for the county in which your property is located to get a copy. In some counties, you can download a copy from the county website.

Q.    If my application is approved and accepted, when will the Deferral Program begin paying my property taxes?
A. The Deferral Program will pay your taxes on the next November 15th. We suggest that you inform your mortgage company that the State of Oregon will be paying your property taxes if your mortgage company holds funds in escrow to pay the taxes. You may want to send them a copy of your deferral approval letter.

Q.    Why is there a lien on my property?
A. The Deferral Program places a lien on your property as a security interest for the deferred taxes. The amount of the lien is an estimate of the future taxes and accrued interest to be charge on the deferral account based on life expectancy tables.

Q.    Can I deduct deferred property taxes from my income tax return?
A. If you file a federal income tax return and you itemize deductions using Schedule A, you may deduct the current year's property taxes that we paid to the county. You may also deduct the accrued interest on the deferred property taxes as home mortgage interest in the year the interest is paid.

Q.    Can I add someone to the deed or title of my home while I am on the Deferral Program?
A. Adding someone to the deed or title of your home may cause your home to become disqualified. Please contact our office for further details.

Q.    When will I need to recertify?
A. For new applicants, the recertification process will begin in either the second or third year of your deferral account. If the social security number of the primary applicant ends in an odd number (1,3,5,7,9), recertification will be necessary in odd numbered years (2015, 2017, etc.). If the social security number of the primary applicant ends in an even number (0,2,4,6,8), recertification will be necessary in even numbered years (2016, 2018, etc.).

Q.    Can my mortgage company prevent me from applying and being accepted on the Deferral Program?
A. Mortgage companies and other lenders cannot prevent you from applying for a deferral program as stated in the following statutes:

ORS 311.670 (3) There must be no prohibition to the deferral of property taxes contained in any provision of federal law, rule or regulation applicable to a mortgage, trust deed, land sale contract or conditional sale contract for which the homestead is security.

ORS 311.700 After September 9, 1971, it shall be unlawful for any mortgage trust deed or land sale contract to contain a clause or statement which prohibits the owner from applying for the benefits of the deferral of homestead property taxes provided in ORS 311.666 to 311.701. Any such clause or statement in mortgage trust deed or land sale contract executed after September 9, 1971 shall be void.

Q.    What happens if I move off of my property?

A. If you move off of your property for medical reasons, you must provide the department with a statement from your doctor that you have moved for reasons of health for the deferral to continue. The statement must be on letterhead or prescription pad from your doctor.
If you move for a non-medical reason, your deferral account will be disqualified.

Q.    Can I transfer my  deferral account to another property?

A. No. Your deferral is for the specific piece of property that was listed on your original application.