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                                                      PRINTER'S NO. 1804



No. 2 Session of 2000



                                     AN ACT

     1  Providing a State rebate to homeowners and for the powers and
     2     duties of the Department of Revenue and local assessors; and
     3     imposing penalties.

     4     The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
     5         (1)  School property taxes have escalated at a rate over
     6     and above the rate of inflation and have become a substantial
     7     burden on millions of Pennsylvania homeowners. Property tax
     8     increases are of great concern to citizens of this
     9     Commonwealth.
    10         (2)  Pennsylvania currently enjoys a unique opportunity
    11     to provide some relief to homeowners for properties
    12     identified as homestead properties within the meaning of
    13     homestead in section 2(b)(vi) of Article VIII of the
    14     Constitution of Pennsylvania.
    15     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    16  hereby enacts as follows:
    17  Section 1.  Short title.
    18     This act shall be known and may be cited as the Homeowners'

     1  Century Tax Rebate Act.
     2  Section 2.  Definitions.
     3     The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
     4  have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     5  context clearly indicates otherwise:
     6     "Assessor."  The chief assessor of a county, the equivalent
     7  position in a home rule county or the equivalent position in a
     8  city of the third class that performs its own assessments of
     9  real property.
    10     "Department."  The Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth
    11  or its designee.
    12     "Homeowner."  Any of the following:
    13         (1)  An individual who is a natural person domiciled in
    14     this Commonwealth.
    15         (2)  A grantor who has placed real property in a
    16     revocable trust, provided that the grantor is a natural
    17     person domiciled in this Commonwealth.
    18         (3)  A partner of a family farm partnership or a
    19     shareholder of a family farm corporation as the terms are
    20     defined in section 1101-C of the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6,
    21     No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971, provided that
    22     the partner or shareholder is a natural person domiciled in
    23     this Commonwealth.
    24     "Homestead."  The owner-occupied, primary residence and the
    25  parcel of land within this Commonwealth on which the residence
    26  is located and other improvements located on the parcel. This
    27  definition of "homestead" shall have no effect, evidentiary or
    28  otherwise, concerning the issue of whether the property
    29  constitutes a homestead or homestead property under any other
    30  act.
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     1     "Real property tax."  The total real property tax imposed by
     2  a school district on a homestead for the tax year. The term does
     3  not include payments made in lieu of taxes or any penalties or
     4  interest paid in connection with the tax.
     5     "Rebate."  An amount equal to 100% of the real property tax
     6  paid on the assessed value of a homestead to a school district
     7  for the tax year, except that no rebate paid pursuant to this
     8  act shall exceed $100.
     9     "Residence."  A structure used as a place of habitation by a
    10  resident who is the owner of the structure.
    11     "School district."  A school district of the first class,
    12  first class A, second class, third class or fourth class,
    13  including any independent school district.
    14     "Tax year."  The school district's fiscal year 1999-2000
    15  during which real property tax is due and payable.
    16  Section 3.  Rebate qualifications.
    17     (a)  General rule.--Subject to section 4, a rebate shall be
    18  issued for a homestead if all of the following apply:
    19         (1)  The homeowner occupied the homestead during the tax
    20     year.
    21         (2)  The homeowner paid real property tax to a school
    22     district for the tax year.
    23         (3)  The homeowner is the owner of record as of July 1,
    24     1999.
    25  No person shall be eligible to receive more than one rebate.
    26     (b)  Multiple owners.--If title to a homestead is held by
    27  more than one individual, a rebate shall be issued in the names
    28  appearing on the school property tax record.
    29  Section 4.  Rebate administration.
    30     (a)  Regulations.--The department shall establish
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     1  administrative procedures or policies, and regulations as
     2  necessary, to implement and administer this act. The department
     3  may enter into any contracts which are necessary to administer
     4  this act.
     5     (b)  Submission of certified lists.--Within 30 days of the
     6  effective date of this act, every assessor shall submit to the
     7  department a certified list, categorized by school district, of
     8  all residential and farm real property and owners of record as
     9  of July 1, 1999, within its jurisdiction. The certified list
    10  shall only include those homeowners of record who have fully
    11  paid their 1999-2000 school real property taxes.
    12     (c)  Departmental review.--Only certified lists submitted
    13  within 30 days of the effective date of this act shall be
    14  reviewed by the department. The department shall make the
    15  initial determination of homeowner rebate eligibility by June
    16  30, 2000, from information submitted by that date. The
    17  department shall thereafter forward the list of eligible
    18  homeowners.
    19     (d)  Verification of lists.--Within 30 days after receipt of
    20  the list of eligible homeowners, the assessor shall verify the
    21  list and report to the department any corrections to the list.
    22     (e)  Issuance of rebates.--The department shall finalize the
    23  list and authorize rebates by August 31, 2000. The rebate shall
    24  be issued and mailed to all homeowners on the final verified
    25  list by October 20, 2000. If the assessor fails to verify the
    26  list or notify the department of any corrections within the time
    27  limitation set forth under subsection (d), the department shall
    28  authorize rebates to all homeowners on the final list.
    29  Section 5.  Petitions for review.
    30     A homeowner whose rebate is either denied, corrected or
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     1  otherwise adversely affected by either the department or the
     2  assessor may petition for administrative review in the manner
     3  prescribed by the department. An individual aggrieved by the
     4  department's action in connection with the administrative review
     5  may petition for review in the manner specified in sections 11.1
     6  and 11.2 of the act of March 11, 1971 (P.L.104, No.3), known as
     7  the Senior Citizens Rebate and Assistance Act.
     8  Section 6.  Penalties.
     9     Any homeowner who receives a rebate through false or
    10  misleading conduct or action or who owes delinquent taxes to the
    11  State or school district may be required to do the following:
    12         (1)  refund to the department the amount of rebate
    13     received;
    14         (2)  pay a civil penalty of $50 to the department; or
    15         (3)  both paragraphs (1) and (2).
    16  Section 7.  Erroneous rebates.
    17     (a)  General rule.--If the department determines or finds a
    18  rebate to have been incorrectly or erroneously paid, it shall
    19  redetermine the correct amount of the rebate, if any, and notify
    20  the homeowner of the reason for the correction and the amount of
    21  the rebate.
    22     (b)  Recovery.--If a rebate has been issued in error and the
    23  homeowner fails to refund the rebate upon the department's
    24  request, the rebate shall be recoverable by the department in
    25  the same manner as assessments as provided for in section 338 of
    26  the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform
    27  Code of 1971.
    28  Section 8.  Effective date.
    29     This act shall take effect immediately.

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