HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Clearfield County, is reminding residents that Dec. 31 is the deadline to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
“Under the recently expanded program, eligible participants receive a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2010,” George said. “Rebates were distributed beginning on July 1, but the final deadline to apply will arrive shortly.”
The rebate, up to $975 according to the state Department of Revenue’s Web site, is significantly higher than the previous $650 amount.
To be eligible, Pennsylvania residents must meet income requirements and be age 65 or older, a claimant under the age of 65 with a spouse age 65 or older who resides in the household, a widow or widower age 50 and older, or be permanently disabled age 18 or older.
The program is available to homeowners with a household income of $35,000 or less and renters with a household income of $15,000 or less, excluding one-half of Social Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits.
Instructions and applications are available online. Residents also may call George’s Harrisburg office toll free at 1-866 354-0890 to have forms mailed to them.
Applicants can check the status of claims by visiting www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com, or by calling (1) 888 222-9190 toll free. The Lottery-funded program began almost 40 years ago and has paid out more than $4 billion in rebates, including more than $2.3 million last year to more than 5,800 Clearfield County residents.
George urged applicants to ignore mailings that offer to fill out the paperwork for a fee. Recently, a company has offered to assist senior citizens for $39, which Rep. George has advised against.
“Forms and assistance are readily available and free,” George said. “The personal information needed to fill out the application should not be shared lightly.
“While the company may be operating legally, it is charging for a service that can be provided at no cost,” he said.
George also reminded residents to make sure they are registered for a homestead or farmstead exemption to receive a property tax reduction.
“Almost 75 percent of property owners in Clearfield County have received the exemption,” George said. “However, everyone who is eligible should take advantage of this tax break.”
Applications are available during business hours at the Clearfield County Assessment Office on the first floor of the Courthouse annex in Clearfield. The phone number is 765-2641, extension 5997. Applications also are available through the county’s Web site.
“This tax relief is available for all homeowners, regardless of age, income or value of home,” George said. “Only eligible homes and farms registered by March 1 are eligible for the tax relief, which has averaged around $180 annually. The property simply must be a resident’s permanent primary residence on which property taxes are paid.
“Residents approved previously do not need to apply again as long as they live in the same home,” George said. “However, new residents and people who have moved should double-check that they are eligible for the exemption.”