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Thursday, February 24, 2011

County/Local Tax Bills Mailed; School Tax Reduction Deadline Nears

County/Local Tax Bills Mailed; School Tax Reduction Deadline Nears

homesteadexemptThese are busy times in the Potter County Tax Assessment Office. Not only are all county and municipal 2011 tax bills being mailed, the staff is also processing school tax “homestead exemption” applications.

Bills being mailed this week show no increase in the county real estate tax this year. The majority of townships and boroughs have also held taxes at the same rate as their 2010 levy.

Taxpayers can reduce their bills by two percent if they pay by April 30. However, if they don’t pay by July 1, they’re subject to a 10-percent penalty.

Meanwhile, time is running out for homeowners in Potter County who want to qualify for reduced school taxes. They have until Monday, March 1, to apply for the “homestead exemption,” which applies to owner-occupied homes. In short, if you own the property in which you live, you are likely eligible for the tax reduction. Rental units, unoccupied homes and other real estate do not qualify.

Homeowners who were already approved for the homestead exemption for the 2009 and/or 2010 school tax year do not have to reapply. Applications for property owners who have not yet qualified for the exemption are available on the county website here (see Departments/Tax Assessment), or by contacting the Assessment Office in the Gunzburger Building, 274-0517

Taxpayers who qualify for the homestead exemption will see a credit on their school district real estate tax bill in the fall. The tax reduction is significant. For instance, in the Coudersport Area School District, the taxes were reduced by $188 last year for each of the 1,339 owner-occupied homes registered for the program. The exemption for the 409 registered homeowners in Austin Area School District was $324. School districts are reimbursed the amount of revenue lost through these exemptions from gambling revenues at state-licensed casinos.

Homeowners are encouraged to contact their school district if they have questions. Those with further questions should call the Assessment Office at 274-0517.

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