HARRISBURG - Gov. Ed Rendell recently announced that eligible older adults and residents with disabilities can now check the status of their Property Tax-Rent Rebate application online at www.papropertytaxrelief.com.
"Our commitment to property tax relief is unwavering, and this new Web tool enhances customer service for the older adults and people with disabilities who rely on these annual checks," Rendell said, noting that slots revenues will provide more than $770 million in property tax relief to Pennsylvania homeowners and completely eliminate school property tax bills for about 110,000 older citizens this year.
Six weeks after submitting a Property Tax-Rent Rebate application, the applicant may visit www.papropertytaxrelief.com and check the status of the rebate by entering their Social Security number, anticipated rebate amount and birth date. Applicants may use the Web site at any time to confirm claim status, rebate amount and the date a rebate is expected to be mailed or direct-deposited.
Rebate checks will begin being distributed to early applicants on July 1.
Through a similar automated phone service, Property Tax-Rent Rebate applicants can check rebate status by calling, toll-free, 888-PATAXES.
The new online tool to check rebate status has the potential to reduce administrative costs for the Revenue Department.
The online service is maintained at a minimal cost, while each toll-free phone call from taxpayers costs the department about 3.1 cents in phone charges, plus costs associated with staffing.
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.
A 2006 program expansion increased the income limit from $15,000 to $35,000 (which excludes half of Social Security income) for homeowners and raises the maximum standard rebate for both homeowners and renters from $500 to $650.
The program expansion also provided 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.
Property Tax-Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com and 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.
The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2008 is June 30. Rebates will be distributed beginning July 1, as specified by law.
The household income limits and maximum standard rebate amounts are:
$0 and $8,000 - $650 rebate.
$8,001 to $15,000 - $500 rebate.
$15,001 to $18,000 - $300 rebate.
The Department of Revenue will automatically calculate supplemental rebates for those who live in areas of particularly high tax burden and therefore qualify for the additional property tax relief up to $975.
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 eligible older adults and residents with disabilities.
The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming.