Español Want to save some tax money and ensure you can stay in your home as you age? You can save as much as 20% on your property taxes for up to 10 years if you plan ahead.
On October 22, 2013 rules and regulations governing a program called The Visitable Housing Design Act & Incentive Program were promulgated by the VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR). These regulations spell out the steps that homeowners need to take to achieve Visitability Certification.
Once you achieve this certification for your home you can apply to the Lieutenant Governor’s Tax Assessor’s Office to qualify for a significant property tax advantage.
As we age, we become challenged by many of the environmental factors inherent in our homes that, as younger individuals, we never noticed. Things like external steps, internal stairways, and even the size of the front door present obstacles if we endure a common injury like a sprained ankle, for instance.
And, unfortunately, as we reach our golden years the possibility of debilitating illnesses and injuries such as heart attacks, strokes or amputations present all new challenges. So planning ahead can make all the difference between being able to remain in your home as you age or needing to relocate to where steps and stairs don’t exist.
To make your home Visitable in the Virgin Islands there are three (3) main components:
- No-rise entrance to your front door
- A doorway entrance not less than 36 inches wide and
- A handicap accessible bathroom on your home’s first floor
The program originally began as an effort to help mobility challenged individuals be able to “visit” or access the homes of their non-mobility challenged family members and friends.
As the Visitability concept spread, it became obvious that by thinking ahead and making some retrofits, all homes could become Visitable and start a trend that would ultimately eliminate the need to relocate as we get older.
The idea has become a WIN-WIN proposition with people beginning to think proactively when planning the construction of their new homes. They are architecturally including in the design of their pre-construction homes, the elements that will make their homes Visitable plus, provide them with a property tax benefit.
For information on how you can participate in the Visitable Housing Design & Incentive Program, please contact the DPNR, Division of Building Permits on St. Croix at 773-1082 or on St. Thomas at 774-3320.
Once you have applied for Visitability, complied with the Visitability requirements listed above and undergone the DPNR Visitability inspection, you will be issued a Visitability Certification.
The Certification should be taken to the Lieutenant Governor’s Tax Assessor’s Office where you will be formally granted your tax benefit. For more information about the Visitability Certificate, please visit the Lt. Governor’s website at: http://ltg.gov.vi/downloads/forms/tax/Visitable_Tax_Credit.pdf.