ST. MARYS – Eligible homeowners and renters should act now to take advantage of a state property tax/rent reduction program before the June 30 deadline.
In 2006, the Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law. The act established the Property Tax Relief Fund to enable the use of gaming revenue to reduce property taxes for homeowners.
That revenue also provides support for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which is also one of the five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.
Under this program, older and disabled homeowners with incomes up to $35,000, and renters with incomes up to $15,000, are eligible for rebates of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2011. Additionally, qualifying homeowners can receive supplemental rebates, bringing their rebate total to $975.
Eligibility income limits exclude 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits:
• $0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (homeowners and renters);
• $8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (homeowners and renters);
• $15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (homeowners only); and
• $18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (homeowners only). Although the deadline is usually extended to Dec. 31, it is not a certainty. State Rep. M Gabler, R-Clearfield/Elk, recommends applying now just in case.
"My office is always happy to offer free assistance with the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program," Gabler said. "The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue estimates a significant number of Commonwealth residents don't take advantage of this, and we can help you determine your eligibility and assist you with filling out the PA 1000 form."
Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms are available at Gabler's St. Marys and DuBois constituent service offices. Forms are also available at senior centers throughout Elk County, the Area Agency on Aging, or online at www.revenue.state.pa.us . People with questions may call 1-888-222-9190. In order to ensure that claims are processed quickly and accurately, residents will need to provide any necessary income, property tax or rental information, or proof of disability.
Pick up a copy of the Saturday, May 19, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.