Application forms for the state Department of Revenue’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available for eligible residents to begin claiming rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2013.
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded.
The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.
Last year, 13,235 homeowners and 6,668 renters in Luzerne County benefited from property tax and rent rebates, according to the Department of Revenue. That added up to more than $3.5 million in rent rebates, more than $5.1 million in property tax rebates, and $860,091 in property tax rebate supplements.
Of the 13,235 homeowners who received rebates last year, 3,224 of them received supplements.
Homeowners who pay more than 15 percent of their household income in property taxes are eligible to receive a supplement equal to half of the standard rebate, said department spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell.
The total rebates distributed in Luzerne County last year was less than in 2012 by about $300,000, which is to be expected, Brassell said, because people’s salaries and cost of living adjustments usually increase annually while income requirements for rebates have remained the same for several years.
Each resident who prepared and filed a paper rebate form last year and did not utilize computer software to do so should have received a 2013 application form by now. Renters who prepared claims last year using computer software rather than the PA-1000 booklet should have received letters by mail reminding the resident to apply for a 2013 rebate and providing them with two copies of the PA-1000 Rent Certificate.
It costs nothing to apply for a rebate. In response to continued inquiries and complaints about private firms and individuals offering to complete applications for residents for a fee, the department reminds residents that free filing help is available at hundreds of locations across the state.
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.
Applications are also available online at www.revenue.state.pa.us or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
Older adults must reapply for rebates every year because rebates are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year.
The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2013 is June 30, 2014. Rebates will be distributed beginning on July 1, as specified by law.
More than $279 million in property tax and rent rebates have been sent to more than 587,000 homeowners and renters across the state for taxes and rent paid in 2012.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older adults and adults with disabilities have received $5.4 billion in property tax and rent rebates.