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Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebates Arriving Early
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 05/22/2020

Governor Tom Wolf and Treasurer Joe Torsella announced that many older homeowners, renters and people with disabilities will receive early rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Rebates are typically issued starting July 1, but the governor and treasurer are issuing the rebates starting tomorrow to approved applicants. The governor also signed HB 1076 today, which authorizes the early distribution.

"This commonsense solution gives thousands of our older and vulnerable residents their rebates early when they need it," said Wolf. "I thank members of the General Assembly and Treasurer Torsella for working quickly on this issue so that we can provide this needed financial support. We also want everyone who is eligible for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program to know that the application deadline for the program has been extended so that everyone has the time they need to take advantage of the program. The deadline to submit applications is now Dec. 31, 2020."

The distribution of rebates by the Department of Revenue and Treasury is different than prior years. Rather than a large distribution of rebates on July 1, rebates will be processed and distributed on a first-in-first-out basis. This gradual process means some claimants will receive their rebates earlier than others.

"As public officials, all of us in state government are working to find every way we can to help Pennsylvanians get through this health and financial crisis," said Torsella. "Older folks and our less well-off neighbors rely on the Property Tax/ Rent Rebate Program for help. They're also among those bearing the heaviest burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was proud to lead the team at Treasury in working with the Governor's team and the General Assembly, particularly Representatives White and Solomon, to find a way to get these payments out as early as we can, and into the hands of the Pennsylvanians who need them. I am grateful for their collective leadership and cooperation on this issue."

"We are very pleased that we were able to work with Governor Wolf and Treasurer Torsella to start distributing rebates early this year for people who are in need," said Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. "In past years, we have issued more than 400,000 rebates on July 1, which means most rebates for the program are distributed at the same time. That will not be the case this year. We are starting the process early and we want claimants to know that we will work as quickly as possible to distribute their rebates."

Applicants who included their bank account information on their Property Tax/Rent Rebate application form (PA-1000) will receive their rebates through direct deposit. Applicants who requested a paper check to be mailed to them should expect to receive their payment in the mail.

"I am thrilled that the state will be able to get property tax and rent rebate payments in the hands of some of our neediest citizens more quickly this year,"said Rep. Jared Solomon. "From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis I have worked in a bipartisan way to identify any levers we can pull in state government to put cash in people's wallets since so many are finding those wallets emptier as the pandemic proceeds. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the rebate each year -- particularly seniors -- and now, rather than wait until July, they can start getting that money now when they need it most."

The Department of Revenue is asking claimants to keep in mind that its main call centers are operating in a limited capacity due to the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. As a result, claimants are encouraged to use online tools and other automated resources to check the status of their rebates or ask a question.

- Claimants who already applied for rebates may use the Where's My PA Property Tax/Rent Rebate? tool to check the status of their rebate. You will need your Social Security number, claim year and date of birth to use this tool.

- Call 1-888-PATAXES to check the status of your rebate. This automated toll-free service is available 24 hours a day. You will need your Social Security number, date of birth and the anticipated amount of your rebate to use this service.

- Claimants who included their phone number on their Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application form (PA-1000) will receive automated calls from the Department of Revenue updating them on the status of their claim. Claimants should know that these automated phone calls require no further action. They will not be asked to key in any numbers or to provide any additional information.

- Claimants can visit the department's Online Customer Service Center to find helpful tips and answers to commonly asked questions about the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The Online Customer Service Center also allows you to submit a question to a Department of Revenue representative through a secure process that is similar to sending an email.

For eligible applicants who have yet to file their Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application, the Department of Revenue is offering help for those who need it. Eligible claimants are encouraged to call 1-888-222-9190 for guidance. Please keep in mind that department staff will work as quickly as possible to help claimants with their applications.

Applicants are encouraged to obtain the Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim form (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue's website.

The deadline for older adults and Pennsylvania residents with disabilities to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2019 was extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2020.

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 income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. It is free to apply for a rebate.

The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The Department of Revenue automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners.

More than $255 million in property tax and rent rebates were sent to almost 532,000 homeowners and renters across the state for property taxes and rent paid in 2017. This is the most recent data available for a full calendar year.

Since the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program's 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $6.9 billion in property tax and rent relief. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.

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