Homestead refunds help cushion tax blow
Property values in northeast Kansas have risen rapidly in the past few years, leaving many of the area's older residents struggling to keep up.
As the value of their homes rise, so do their property taxes.
For many seniors with low to moderate incomes, the homestead refund can offer some relief.
According to officials at the Kansas Department of Revenue, the refund goes unused each year by many who would qualify.
According to Scott Holeman, communications director for the revenue department, a homestead refund is a rebate of a portion of the property taxes paid on a Kansas resident's homestead.
The refund percentage is based on the total household income. Qualifying homeowners can receive a refund based on the amount of property tax paid. For renters, 20 percent of the rent paid throughout the year is used as the property tax amount. The maximum refund is $600.
To qualify for the refund, the applicant's household income must be no more than $25,000 for the year. The applicant must also have been born prior to Jan. 1, 1945, or have been blind or permanently disabled throughout the year 2000 or have a dependent child in the household under the age of 18, but born before Jan.1, 2000.
Only one claim may be filed for each household. A husband and wife who occupy separate households, including nursing homes, should file separate claims and include only their individual income.
Qualifying homeowners must not owe any delinquent property taxes on their home. They must enclose a copy of their property tax statement with the claim.
Qualifying renters must be on the tax rolls and be subject to property tax. Rent paid from public funds, such as HUD, is not considered.
A homestead claim booklet is mailed to individuals who filed a 1999 claim and whose address has not changed.
Those who have moved or have not filed before may obtain a claim booklet at their local license bureau or city and county clerk's office. Forms can also be obtained at most banks, libraries and post offices.
Taxpayers who have access to the Internet can find the form on the state Department of Revenue Web site, at www.ink.org/public/kdor.