200,000 more seniors encouraged to apply before dec. 31 deadline; revenue extends customer service hours
HARRISBURG, November 7, 2007 – Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that more than half a million Pennsylvania seniors have received rebates of up to $650 on their property taxes or rent thanks to the expanded Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Customer service hours are being extended for 200,000 seniors who have yet to apply.
“Revenue from slots gaming is already providing desperately-needed property tax relief to hundreds of thousands of our seniors,” Governor Rendell said. “At least 200,000 more seniors qualify for the program but have not yet applied. I encourage all who qualify to take advantage of the tax relief available to them and apply before the Dec. 31 deadline.”
Act 1 of Special Session 2006, signed by Governor Rendell on June 27, 2006, delivers the largest property tax cut in Pennsylvania history — $1 billion annually to Pennsylvania homeowners. Seniors get the most significant property tax relief through an expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program beginning this year.
So far this year, $218 million in rebates have been sent to 501,164 homeowners and renters through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. That’s 187,257 more households and $98 million more than last year.
The total number of senior homeowners receiving property tax rebates under the state’s program is estimated to increase from about 155,000 last year to 575,000 by the end of this year. Nearly 200,000 of these senior homeowners will pay no school property taxes once gaming revenue is available for general property tax relief to all homeowners.
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. The 2006 program expansion increases 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.
“Because applicants can exclude half of Social Security income, residents can make significantly more than $35,000 a year and still qualify for a rebate,” the Governor said. “I don’t want one senior to miss out on receiving the help they need in paying their property taxes.”
The expanded household income limits and maximum rebate amounts are:
• $0 and $8,000 $650 rebate
• $8,001 to $15,000 $500 rebate
• $15,001 to $18,000 $300 rebate
• $18,001 to $35,000 $250 rebate
Renters with incomes between $0 and $8,000 now receive a $650 rebate and those with incomes between $8,001 and $15,000 receive a $500 rebate.
To better serve seniors who need help applying for the rebate program, the Department of Revenue’s customer service center (1-888-222-9190) will extend hours. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 13, through the end of the year, the service center will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except for Nov. 24 and Dec. 29). The call center will be open during regular business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Fridays and during the weeks of Thanksgiving (Nov. 19 –23) and Christmas (Dec. 24 – 28).
Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com or by calling 888-222-9190. Forms and assistance also are available at Department of 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 the necessary income, property tax or rental information for their claims to be processed accurately and quickly.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, more than $3.8 billion has been paid to qualified applicants. The expanded portion of the rebate program is being paid for with revenue from slots gaming.
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.