Pennsylvania diverts gambling revenue to tax rebates for seniors
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell is encouraging senior citizens and residents with disabilities to apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebates of up to $650. Application forms have been mailed to nearly 550,000 residents who received a rebate last year.
"Revenue from slots gaming provided desperately-needed property tax relief to nearly 550,000 seniors last year," Governor Rendell said. "Nearly half of those seniors would not have received the rebates without slots gaming revenue. All of the seniors who received rebates last year will automatically receive new application forms in the mail shortly."
Seniors need to reapply for rebates by June 30 every year because the rebates are based on the amount of property taxes or rent paid each year and annual income.
So far, more than $236 million in property tax and rent rebates have been sent to nearly 550,000 homeowners and renters across the commonwealth, and the Revenue Department continues to process applications that came in close to the deadline.
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The program expansion in 2006 increased 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.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com and by calling 1-888-222-9190. 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.
The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2007 is June 30. Rebates will be distributed beginning on July 1, as specified by law.
Act 1 of Special Session 2006, signed by Governor Rendell on June 27, 2006, delivered the largest property tax cut in Pennsylvania history. Seniors get the most significant property tax relief through an expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Property tax relief for all homeowners is expected this summer.
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.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program's 1971 inception, more than $4 billion has been paid to seniors and disabled residents. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming.