Yesterday evening, my wife and I were enjoying an ‘international food’ night with good friends of ours. If you’ve never tried Rice balls and groundnut soup from Ghana, you’re missing out! During the course of the evening, my friend was telling me how he was able to cut his annual property tax bill almost by half using the little known Taxpayer Relief Act created on June 27, 2006. As a soon-to-be home owner, I was intrigued. So, he showed me some of the paperwork involved and when I got home, I dug a little deeper to find out how to get this savings. Here are all the details I found in my research all laid out for anyone else looking to save some coin on those ever increasing property taxes.
What is the Pennsylvania Homestead Tax Relief Act?
According to the PA Department of Education’s website, the Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of Special Session 1 of 2006 was created to provide “property tax reduction allocations, to be distributed by the Commonwealth to each school district”. Basically, your property’s assessed value is reduced through this Act, and since property tax is based on assessed value, the tax is also reduced.
Are You Eligible?
In order to be eligible for the Pennsylvania Homestead Tax Relief Act, you need to have your primary residence at the ‘homestead’ or ‘farmstead’ for which you are applying. So, rental properties are obviously ineligible. Also, for some reason, Philadelphia county has chosen to reduce the wage tax instead of property tax, so if you’re from ‘Philly’ you are also ineligible. All other counties in Pennsylvania qualify.
How to Apply for the Pennsylvania Homestead Tax Relief
- Make sure you qualify for the reduction.
- Contact your county assessment office (excel spreadsheet of all PA county assessment offices) for a copy of the homestead and farmstead application form for your local school district.
- Once you get the form, fill it out and send it in to your county assessment office before the March 1st deadline.
This article is for information purposes only. You should check the official sources listed below for the latest developments and changes to the PA Homestead Tax Relief Act. Also, if you don’t live in PA, you may be eligible for a similar reduction in property taxes. Many states have programs that reduce property taxes based on income level and/or whether you are a resident of the property.