Thousands of York County homeowners could be saving hundreds of dollars per year on property taxes, but many people who might qualify haven't registered their owner-occupied home under the state's Taxpayer Relief Act.
Any home or farm that's the taxpayer's primary residence qualifies for the relief, but homeowners must submit an application to the county to have the property added as a homestead or farmstead.
Only about 113,000 of the estimated 170,000 potentially eligible properties in York County were approved for the
Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion program for the 2011 tax year, according to county assessment records. That means thousands of property owners who might be eligible haven't applied, said E. John Fedor, the county's assessment director, in a county-issued press release.
People listed in the program get property tax reductions financed by casinos, part of the legislation that legalized slot machines in Pennsylvania.
Tax reductions vary from school district to school district, based on a state-created formula for distribution of the slot machine money. It ranged last year from $79 in West Shore to $490 in York City.
Deadline: March 1 is the deadline for homeowners to apply, and Fedor's office is encouraging people to file as soon as possible because last-minute applicants could face a one-year delay if errors or omissions aren't addressed by the deadline, according to the press release.
Those accepted will be eligible for a reduction in 2013 school district property taxes and will stay eligible for future years.
Though they might have been approved for the program at a previous residence, people must reapply if they move. Applicants receive notice by mail regarding the status of their application.
People can call the assessment office at 771-9232 or visit http://gis.york-county.org to check the status of their properties. If online, select "Mapping and Data" and follow the prompts to search for the property.
Applications can be picked up at the assessment office in the York County Administrative Center, 28 E. Market St., or printed online at http://yorkcountypa.gov. Navigate to the forms section of the Assessment & Tax Claim Office and select "Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Application."
Applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to the assessment office before the March 1 deadline.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.