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§44-33-3  Definitions. –

Published: 2015

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Property Tax Relief

SECTION 44-33-3

   § 44-33-3  Definitions. –

As used in this chapter:

   (1) "Claimant" means a homeowner or renter, sixty-five (65)

years of age or older, and/or disabled, who has filed a claim under this

chapter and was domiciled in this state for the entire calendar year for which

he or she files a claim for relief under this chapter. In the case of claim for

rent constituting property taxes accrued, the claimant shall have rented

property during the preceding year for which he or she files for relief under

this chapter. Claimant shall not mean or include any person claimed as a

dependent by any taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code of the United States,

26 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. When two (2) individuals of a household are able to

meet the qualifications for a claimant, they may determine between themselves

as to who the claimant is. If they are unable to agree, the matter is referred

to the tax administrator and his or her decision is final. If a homestead is

occupied by two (2) or more individuals, and more than one individual is able

to qualify as a claimant, and some or all of the qualified individuals are not

related, the individuals may determine among themselves as to who the claimant

is. If they are unable to agree, the matter is referred to the tax

administrator, and his or her decision is final.

   (2) "Disabled" means those persons who are receiving a social

security disability benefit.

   (3) "Gross rent" means rental paid in cash or its equivalent

solely for the right of occupancy of a homestead, exclusive of charges for any

utilities, services, furniture, furnishings, or personal property appliances

furnished by the landlord as a part of the rental agreement. If the landlord

and tenant have not dealt with each other at arm's length, and the tax

administrator is satisfied that the gross rent charged was excessive, he or she

may adjust the gross rent to a reasonable amount for purposes of this chapter.

"Gross rent" includes the rental of space paid to a landlord for parking of a

mobile home, or docking or mooring a houseboat, exclusive of any charges for

utilities, services, furniture, furnishings, or personal appliances furnished

by the landlord as a part of the rental. Twenty percent (20%) of the annual

gross rental plus the space rental fees paid during the year are the annual

"property taxes accrued."

   (4) "Homestead" means the dwelling, whether owned or rented,

and so much of the land surrounding it, not exceeding one acre, as is

reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, and may consist of a

part of the multi-dwelling or multi-purpose building and a part of the land

upon which it is built ("owned" includes a vendee in possession under a land

contract and one or more joint tenants or tenants in common). It does not

include personal property such as furniture, furnishings, or appliances, but a

mobile home or a houseboat may be a homestead.

   (5) "Household" means one or more persons occupying a

dwelling unit and living as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit. "Household"

shall not include bona fide lessees, tenants, or roomers, and boarders on


   (6) "Household income" means all income received by all

persons of a household in a calendar year while members of the household.

   (7) "Income" means the sum of federal adjusted gross income

as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of the United States, 26 U.S.C. §

1 et seq., and all non-taxable income including, but not limited to, the amount

of capital gains excluded from adjusted gross income, alimony, support money,

non-taxable strike benefits, cash public assistance and relief (not including

relief granted under this chapter), the gross amount of any pension or annuity

(including Railroad Retirement Act (see 45 U.S.C. § 231 et seq.) benefits,

all payments received under the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §

301 et seq., state unemployment insurance laws, and veterans' disability

pensions (see 38 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.), non-taxable interest received from

the federal government or any of its instrumentalities, workers' compensation,

and the gross amount of "loss of time" insurance. It shall not include gifts

from nongovernmental sources, or surplus foods or other relief in kind supplied

by a public or private agency. For the purpose of this chapter, the calculation

of "income" shall not include any deductions for rental losses, business

losses, capital losses, exclusion for foreign income, and any losses received

from pass-through entities.

   (8) "Property taxes accrued" means property taxes (exclusive

of special assessments, delinquent interest, and charges for service) levied on

a claimant's homestead in this state in 1977 or any calendar year thereafter.

If a homestead is owned by two (2) or more persons or entities as joint tenants

or tenants in common, and one or more persons or entities are not a member of

claimant's household, "property taxes accrued" is that part of property taxes

levied on the homestead which reflects the ownership percentage of the claimant

and his or her household. For purposes of this subdivision, property taxes are

"levied" when the tax roll is certified by the city or town assessor. When a

homestead is sold during the calendar year of the levy, the "property taxes

accrued" for the seller and buyer is the amount of the tax levy prorated to

each in the closing agreement pertaining to the sale of the homestead or, if

not provided for in the closing agreement, the tax levy is prorated between

seller and buyer based upon the delivery date of the deed of conveyance. When a

household owns and occupies two (2) or more homesteads in the same calendar

year, "property taxes accrued" is the sum of the prorated taxes attributable to

the household for each of the homesteads. If the household owns and occupies

the homestead for the part of the calendar year and rents a household for part

of the calendar year, it may include both the proration of taxes on the

homestead owned and "rent constituting property taxes accrued" with respect to

the months the homestead is rented, in computing the amount of the claim. All

prorations are made on the basis of the gross tax levy after all exemptions. If

a homestead is an integral part of a larger unit such as a farm, or a

multi-purpose or multi-dwelling building, property taxes accrued is that

percentage of the total property taxes accrued as the value of the homestead is

of the total value. For the purposes of this subdivision, "unit" refers to the

parcel of property covered by a single tax statement of which the homestead is

a part.

   (9) "Rent constituting property taxes accrued" means twenty

percent (20%) of the gross rent actually paid in cash or its equivalent in any

calendar year by a claimant and his or her household solely for the right of

occupancy of their Rhode Island homestead in the calendar year, and which rent

constitutes the basis, in the succeeding calendar year, of a claim for relief

under this chapter by the claimant, but shall not include any part of the rent

paid for occupancy of premises which are legally exempt from the payment of

property taxes.

History of Section.

(P.L. 1977, ch. 237, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 605, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 30,

art. 30, § 3; P.L. 2010, ch. 19, § 3; P.L. 2010, ch. 20, § 3;

P.L. 2014, ch. 145, art. 12, § 4.)