Feb 27, 2013 6:52 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - Folks who are struggling to pay property taxes in Montana may be eligible for tax relief and not even know it, thanks to the Property Tax Assistance Program.
The program was created by the Montana Legislature years ago to help families with have low to moderate-income who own a home.
"If a family is of moderate means and has big property taxes then we're going to help offset that property tax for them," Rich Bechtel of the Montana Office of Taxpayers' Assistance said.
The State Property Tax Division reports the program is under-utilized, so this year, the Montana Department of Revenue sent out postcards to people whom they thought might be eligible.
"There may be 30,000 property owners who may be eligible but don't participate. And so we cobbled together very quickly a data base of these 30,000 people and we mailed out yellow postcards out to them," Bechtel said.
Bechtel added that it's easy to find out if you qualify. If you've lived in your home for at least nine months, are single, and have an income less than $20,000 you may qualify. For multiple applicants or head of household, your income can't exceed $27,745.
The Department of Revenue has added a property tax assistance calculator on its website to determine eligibility to make it easy to see if residents qualify.
"They answer a couple of questions and it immediately tells them whether or not they would be eligible and if so it estimates what kind of benefit they'd get," Bechtel said.
Bechtel says many senior citizens on fixed incomes may also qualify for homeowner renters tax credit. "It can be $20 to $50, up to $1,000."
The deadline to apply for the tax relief program is April 15. Click here to visit the website and learn more.