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Auditor General Jack Wagner Issues Public Service Reminder to Pa. Homeowners to Apply for Promised Property Tax Relief
Says 34 percent of Pa. slots revenues earmarked for property tax relief
HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 24, 2010 – With the tax season quickly approaching, Auditor General Jack Wagner today reminded Pennsylvanians that the application period for property tax relief begins in December and ends March 1, 2011, and that homeowners should ensure that they have filed an application for property tax relief associated with slots casino revenues.
All Pennsylvania homeowners who reside in their home as their permanent primary residence are eligible to receive property tax relief regardless of age or income through a reduction in their school tax bill, which is provided by revenues generated from Pennsylvania’s slots casino gaming industry.
Last year, more than 2.6 million Pennsylvania homeowners were approved for this property tax relief and received an average reduction of about $200.
A special report issued by Wagner’s office earlier this year found that potentially hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners have not received property tax relief because many are not aware they are eligible due to a complicated, fragmented and cumbersome application process.
As a service to all Pennsylvania homeowners, Wagner today provided five steps to aid homeowners in getting property tax relief from legalized gaming revenues. Wagner made that information available on the Department of Auditor General’s Website and through the Department of Auditor General Taxpayer Advocate Hotline at 1 800 922-8477. The five steps are:
“The governor and the general assembly have promised Pennsylvania taxpayers property tax relief as a result of bringing legalized gambling to Pennsylvania,” Wagner said. “With taxpayers facing the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, every bit of assistance can help a strapped family meet its living expenses. Government must do all that it can to ensure that the promise of property tax relief for all Pennsylvania homeowners is a reality.”
The General Assembly, at Gov. Rendell’s urging, legalized slots casino gambling in 2004 in order to reduce property taxes, create jobs, and revitalize the commonwealth’s horse-racing industry. According to state law, 55 percent of casinos’ revenues are to be returned to the state, with 34 percent of the commonwealth’s share earmarked for property tax relief, 12 percent for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, 5 percent to the Economic Development and Tourism Fund, and 4 percent to local and county governments.
Last year, casinos generated more than $3 billion in new tax revenue for the commonwealth.
Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the Commonwealth’s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts more than 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s Web site at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us
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