Pennsylvanians who are 65 or older, widows or widowers age 50 and older, and individuals with disabilities who are at least 18 years of age may qualify for the state of Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
In order to qualify for this program, Pennsylvania homeowners must make no more than $35,000 a year, and renters cannot earn more than $15,000 in a year.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, only half of a person’s Social Security income is included in a year’s total income.
The maximum standard rebate is $650. However, for citizens living outside of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Scranton, the rebate can be increased by 50 percent for households with an annual income less than $30,000, provided they pay more than 15 % of that income in property taxes.
The application deadline for rent or property tax rebates is June 30, 2020, and applications are already being accepted. An online application form can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue's website. The forms are available at no cost and there is no fee for application.
A spokesperson for Sen. Dan Laughlin's (R-49th) office said his staff wants to ensure awareness of this program among Pennsylvania citizens.
"We want to make sure as many people as possible know about it, and that we're here to help," said Matt Azeles, Laughlin'schief of staff.
The staff at Kenneth Dundon Accounting, 118 W. Smith St., Corry, reminds residents who may qualify for the rebates that they should submit a copy of their 1099-R forms as proof of pension income with the application, because this can save time.
Additionally, applicants should ensure that copies of property taxes are stamped as "paid" or include a cancelled check as proof of payment.
Owner Ken Dundonemphasized the importance of the June 30 deadline.
"If you miss the deadline, there's no way of getting [the money] back," Dundon said.
Dundon also mentioned that the application packet includes a form for renters to fill out and landlords to sign indicating that rent has been paid and in what amount. The form must be notarized, according to Dundon.
Cindy Lou Baker, franchise owner of H&R Block, 142 N. Center St., Corry, added that for disabled persons ages 18 and older, a letter from a doctor is required in order to qualify.
According to Dundon's staff, applicants will receive a call from the state notifying them that their application has been received, but this may not happen until closer to the deadline.
Refunds will not be sent until after the June deadline, but Dundon believes qualifying taxpayers may be surprised at the amount of money they could be eligible to receive.
"It's really worth getting," Dundon said.
Baker commented that not many eligible taxpayers apply for the rebates.
"There are very few people that do take advantage of it," she said.
The rebate program began in 1971 and according to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, more than $6.9 billion in property tax and rent relief has been distributed since then.
To learn more about the property tax/rent rebate program, visit www.revenue.pa.gov. Interested parties may also contact Laughlin's office or a local tax preparer with questions or to request assistance.