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Auditor General Jack Wagner Reminds Homeowners That March 1 is Deadline for Property Tax Relief
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 3, 2011 – Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that time was running out for Pennsylvania homeowners to obtain property tax relief from casino revenue.
The application deadline is March 1, said Wagner, who urged property owners to take advantage of this cost-saving state program.
“Every dollar counts for taxpayers who are still struggling with the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression,” Wagner said. “I strongly urge all Pennsylvania property owners to seek the property tax savings that they have coming to them.”
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. Wagner said if homeowners have previously applied and were approved for the homestead exclusion they don’t have to apply again unless they receive a notice from their county telling them they need to reapply.
A special report issued by Wagner’s office in February 2010 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.
Wagner said his website, www.auditorgen.state.pa.us, offers homeowners information and support for homeowners applying for property tax relief, including:
The General Assembly 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 this property tax relief and received an average reduction of about $200.
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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