Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dec. 31 Deadline for PA Tax Rebate Applications

This is a year-end message: December 31, 2010 is the deadline to file Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) for those who are eligible to receive a rebate from the PA Department of Revenue based upon income and status. 

The Program is described at  An application form can be downloaded from the PA Department of Revenue website.  Again, completed applications must be postmarked by Friday, December 31st to be considered.

For some Pennsylvania seniors, this is an important tax relief benefit, but one that must be sought through an application.  The Pennsylvania Property Tax / Rent Relief Program provides rebates up to $975 for PA homeowners, and up to $650 for PA renters, who meet its criteria.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older.
The program expansion increased the income limit from $15,000 to $35,000 (which excludes half of Social Security income) for homeowners and raises the maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters from $500 to $650. The income limit for renters is $15,000.
The Program's recent expansion provides additional benefits to certain residents:
The program expansion also provides for supplemental property tax rebates of up to $325 – on top of the standard rebates – to homeowners in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton; and to those in other parts of the state who pay more than 15 percent of income on property taxes. The Revenue Department automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners.
The Program is described in a brochure available online.

On December 8, 2010, Governor Ed Rendell issued a Press Release entitled Governor Rendell Reminds Residents Of Dec. 31 Property Tax/rent Rebate Deadline, Free Application Assistance Available, urging those qualified for the rebates to apply by the deadline.  

The Press Release subtitle noted "Nearly 88,000 Eligible Older Adults, People with Disabilities Have Not Yet Applied."
“Nearly 619,000 seniors already applied for rebates this year, but we know there are about 88,000 more people who qualify but have not yet applied,” Governor Rendell said. “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to review the program’s criteria to consider if anyone they know may qualify for a rebate, and help those loved ones apply before the Dec. 31 deadline.”
In response to recent inquiries and complaints regarding fee-based Property Tax/Rent Rebate program application filing services offered privately, Governor Rendell reminded residents that free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state.
“It’s unfortunate that some companies charge fees to provide a service that the government and other agencies provide for free. Application forms and assistance are available at no cost from Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices.”
Pennsylvania is providing a total of $772.5 million in property tax relief this year, including expanded rebates from the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for seniors and residents with disabilities and general property tax relief for all homeowners that was distributed through school districts this past summer.
“So far, these rebates helped to eliminate school property taxes for about 120,000 residents this year,” said Governor Rendell. “I don’t want any eligible person to miss out on this help to pay property taxes or rent.” * * *
The provided forms relate to the tax year 2009.  If past operations of the Department of Revenue predict the future, forms for the tax year 2010 will be mailed during the first quarter of 2011.  See: When will the 2009 Property Tax/Rent Rebate form be available? (Updated 09/15/2010), posted by the PA Department of Revenue.

An answer posted by the Department to another question -- Can I file a Property Tax/Rent Rebate for previous years? (Updated 09/15/2010) -- emphasizes the firmness of the coming deadline: "No. Once the deadline for filing has passed, you cannot file for a Property Tax/Rent Rebate for that year."