May 26, 2020
Renters, older homeowners, and people with disabilities will get an early Pennsylvania property tax rebate from the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Typically these rebates start on the first of July, but the treasurer and governor are issuing them to approved applicants early. The governor already signed the bill authorizing the change. Governor Wolf knows that this level of property tax relief will give some of the most vulnerable residents a little extra help when they need it most.
It’s an easy solution that can be done quickly and efficiently, making it better for a lot of people right away. The application deadline for the assistance program has also been extended, so everyone who is eligible for the program can sign up for it and get the help they need. Applications can be submitted all the way through the end of the year. Rebates this year will be first-in-first-out, instead of all being distributed on the first of July as a gradual process, some people will get their rebates before others do.
Helping people with their Pennsylvania property tax is the goal of many people in state government, and people who are older or already don’t have a lot of financial strength are bearing a heavy burden from COVID-19. By getting the payments out to these people faster, they’ll have a better chance of recovering from the financial fallout of the pandemic. The Revenue Secretary, Treasurer, and Governor all worked together to make the earlier rebate option available, and to extend the deadline for people to continue to apply for the assistance they really need.
For anyone who is eligible for the early rebate and included their banking information on the application form, a direct deposit will be made to their account. Paper checks will be mailed to people who didn’t include that information, and who requested a check instead. People who want to know about the status of their rebate can use the Where’s My Rebate tool. They’ll need a social security number, date of birth, and claim year. There’s also an automated service they can use (1-888-PATAXES), which requires a social security number, date of birth, and rebate amount.
Anyone wanting to know their rebate status is asked to use these two options, so as not to flood call centers that are already very busy and backlogged due to a lower number of people working there during the pandemic. For eligible people who haven’t yet submitted their application, there’s free help available by calling 1-888-222-9190. Depending on the number of people calling, it’s possible there will be some delays. But it’s very important to call if help is needed, so the application can be processed.
The Department of Revenue’s website has the application form, as well. For people who don’t need assistance completing it, filling out the form online is a great option. The program specifically benefits people who are 65 or older, along with widows and widowers who are 50 or older, along with anyone who’s 18 or older and has a disability. Homeowners have an income limit of $35,000 per year, and renters are limited to $15,000 per year. Half of the income from Social Security is excluded, and not counted in that total. There’s no fee to apply for the rebate.
For most people the maximum rebate is $650, but there are supplemental options that can raise the total rebate to $975. The additional rebates will be automatically calculated for those who qualify. In 2017, 532,000 homeowners and renters got rebates, totaling over $255 million. That’s the most recent data availabl and shows the significance of getting the rebates to people earlier. Revenue from slots gaming and the Pennsylvania Lottery funds the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.