112,000 More Seniors, People with Disabilities Encouraged to Apply Before Dec. 31
Harrisburg, PA – December 4, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Edward G. Rendell today reminded eligible older adults and people with disabilities that Dec. 31 is the deadline to apply for rebates up to $975 from Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.
“More than half a million seniors already received rebates this year, but we know there are about 112,000 more people who qualify but haven’t yet applied,” Governor Rendell said. “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to explore 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.
“So far, these rebates helped to eliminate school property taxes for more than 123,500 residents this year – that’s 8.4 percent more than the 113,200 homeowners who saw their property taxes completely eliminated last year,” said Governor Rendell. “I don’t want a single qualifying person to miss out on this help to pay property taxes or rent.”
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. A 2006 program expansion increased the income limit for homeowners from $15,000 to $35,000 (which excludes half of Social Security income) and raised the maximum standard rebate for homeowners and renters from $500 to $650. The income limit for renters is $15,000.
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.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com and by calling 1-888-222-9190, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents requesting forms by mail must call or submit Web site requests by Tuesday, Dec. 15, to allow sufficient time for mailing. Forms can be downloaded from the Web site until Dec. 31.
Forms and assistance also are available at Revenue district offices (listed in the government section of local telephone directories), local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices. Claimants are reminded to provide all necessary income, property tax or rent information for claims to be processed accurately and quickly. Applications must be postmarked by Thursday, Dec. 31, in order to be considered.
Pennsylvania is providing a total of $770 million in property tax relief this year, including expanded rebates from the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for seniors and disabled residents and general property tax relief for all homeowners that was distributed through school districts this past summer.
An estimated 716,000 seniors and residents with disabilities could benefit from rebates this year, compared to 314,000 before the program’s 2006 expansion. Last year, 580,517 seniors received more than $276.1 million in rebates. So far this year, more than 604,000 people have applied for rebates, and as of Nov. 16 rebates totaling $267.4 million have been sent to more than 571,000 homeowners and renters.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, seniors and adults with disabilities have received $4.2 billion worth of property tax and rent rebates. The expanded portion of the rebate program is being paid for with revenue from slots gaming.
Stephanie Weyant, Revenue; 717-787-6960
Gary Tuma, Governor’s Office; 717-783-1116
A by-county list of the estimated number of people who have had school property taxes eliminated and the number of people who are eligible for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, but have not yet applied is available online at: www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com.