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Auditor General Jack Wagner Offers Property Tax Relief Assistance for Pennsylvania Homeowners
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 10, 2011 – With this year’s deadline rapidly approaching, Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that Pennsylvania homeowners who are interested in receiving property tax relief from slots casino revenue may visit his department’s Web site, www.auditorgen.state.pa.us, to obtain all the information they need on how to apply.
Included on the website is a special report, Five Steps to Get Property Tax Relief from Legalized Gambling Revenues, which offers easy-to-read guidance.
Pennsylvanians 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. The application period for property tax relief began in December and ends March 1, 2011.
“Taxpayers are facing the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, so every bit of assistance can help a strapped family meet its living expenses,” Wagner said. “Government must do all that it can to help homeowners navigate the unnecessarily difficult process to receive property tax relief.”
In addition to the special report, Wagner said his website offers homeowners other ways to learn about and apply for property tax relief, including:
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, more than 2.6 million Pennsylvania homeowners were approved for the property tax relief and received an average reduction of about $200.
Wagner’s office released a special report last February which found that potentially hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners did not receive property tax relief because many are not aware they are eligible due to a complicated, fragmented and cumbersome application process.
In the 2009-10 fiscal year, casinos generated $2.2 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 thousands of audits each year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.
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