|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Tuesday, August 20, 2013||Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039|
Fong: More Senior Citizens and Disabled Homeowners Now Qualify For Homestead Tax Credit
BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today that the Tax Department will be promoting recent legislative changes to the Homestead Tax Credit program. The changes allow more low-income senior citizens and disabled persons to qualify for the credit.
"To further ease the burden for senior citizens and disabled persons who live on fixed incomes, the Legislature expanded the homestead tax credit program, making the credit available to more of our low-income elderly or disabled homeowners," said Fong. "Our goal is to get the word out to homeowners who now may be eligible because of the changes to the eligibility criteria."
Senator Jerry Klein said, "The Legislature increased appropriations for the Homestead Tax Credit program by an additional $10 million, doubling the program to $20 million."
The Homestead Tax Credit is available to homeowners who are 65 years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled. Qualified applicants receive a reduction in the property taxes on their primary residence.
"The Homestead Tax Credit is an important program," said Josh Askvig, AARP North Dakota's associate state director for advocacy. "During the legislative session, AARP encouraged changes that would allow many more elderly and disabled homeowners to qualify for the program and be able to stay in their homes and their communities."
The program reduces a homeowner's taxable value by up to as much as 100% or a maximum reduction of $4,500 based on the homeowner's income. The legislature expanded the top qualifying income from $26,000 to $42,000.
"The Homestead Tax Credit provides targeted property tax relief to those North Dakotans who need it most, our seniors and disabled persons who live on fixed incomes," said Representative Jason Dockter. "And raising the income limit makes the program available to more people than before."
Other changes to the program include raising the value of assets allowed from $75,000 to $500,000, including the market value of the homestead and the value of any assets gifted or otherwise divested within the last three years.
"We encourage homeowners who may have applied earlier this year but were ineligible because of the income test, to visit with their tax director to find out if they might be eligible now with the higher income limit," said Fong.
Starting next week, the Tax Department will use radio and television announcements to increase awareness of expanded income limits. In addition to radio and TV, the Tax Department will have an insert in a statewide mailing that encourages homeowners to check into the Homestead Tax Credit.
Homeowners may apply for the credit by completing the Homestead Credit Application for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons and sending it to their local assessor or county director of tax equalization. For more information about the program or for the proper application, homeowners should contact their local assessor or county director of tax equalization. Applications are also available on the Tax Department's web site at www.nd.gov/tax.
Joining Fong were Representative Jason Dockter, one of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 2171, and Josh Askvig, Associate State Director for Advocacy, AARP.
To obtain a list of Tax Directors and City Assessors with their contact information, or for other related information, visit the Tax Department web site at www.nd.gov/tax. Or contact the Property Tax Division in the Office of State Tax Commissioner by calling 877.328.7088 option 6, or 701.328.3127.
# # #