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PRINTER'S NO. 1743
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
1214
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY FONTANA, SABATINA, BREWSTER, WARD, COSTA, HAYWOOD
AND RAFFERTY, MAY 2, 2016
REFERRED TO FINANCE, MAY 2, 2016
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 27, 2006 (1st Sp.Sess., P.L.1873,
No.1), entitled "An act providing for taxation by school
districts, for the State funds formula, for tax relief in
first class cities, for school district choice and voter
participation, for other school district options and for a
task force on school cost reduction; making an appropriation;
prohibiting prior authorized taxation; providing for
installment payment of taxes; restricting the power of
certain school districts to levy, assess and collect taxes;
and making related repeals," providing for supplemental
senior citizen property tax rebate assistance.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of June 27, 2006 (1st Sp.Sess., P.L.1873,
No.1), known as the Taxpayer Relief Act, is amended by adding a
chapter to read:
CHAPTER 13-A
SUPPLEMENTAL SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY TAX
REBATE ASSISTANCE
Section 1301-A. Scope of chapter.
This chapter provides senior citizens with assistance in the
form of supplemental property tax rebates.
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Section 1302-A. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Board." The Board of Finance and Revenue of the
Commonwealth.
"Claimant." A person who files a claim for a supplemental
property tax and:
(1) was at least 66 years of age or whose spouse, if a
member of the household, was at least 66 years of age during
a calendar year in which real property taxes were due and
payable; and
(2) occupied the homestead for a period of at least 10
years immediately preceding the calendar year when the rebate
is claimed.
"Department." The Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth.
"Homestead." An owned dwelling, and so much of the land
surrounding it, as is reasonably necessary for the use of the
dwelling as a home, occupied by a claimant. The term includes,
but is not limited to:
(1) Premises occupied by reason of ownership in a
cooperative housing corporation.
(2) Mobile homes which are assessed as realty for local
property tax purposes and the land, if owned by the claimant,
upon which the mobile home is situated, and other similar
living accommodations.
(3) A part of a multidwelling or multipurpose building
and a part of the land upon which it is built.
(4) Premises occupied by reason of the claimant's
ownership of a dwelling located on land owned by a nonprofit
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incorporated association, of which the claimant is a member,
if the claimant is required to pay a pro rata share of the
property taxes levied against the association's land.
(5) Premises occupied by a claimant if the claimant is
required by law to pay a property tax by reason of the
claimant's ownership, including a possessory interest, in the
dwelling, the land or both. An owner includes a person in
possession under a contract of sale, deed of trust, life
estate, joint tenancy or tenancy in common or by reason of
statutes of descent and distribution.
"Household income." All income received by a claimant and
the claimant's spouse while residing in the homestead during the
calendar year for which a rebate is claimed.
"Income." All income from whatever source derived,
including, but not limited to:
(1) Salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, income from
self-employment, alimony, support money, cash public
assistance and relief.
(2) The gross amount of any pensions or annuities,
including 50% of railroad retirement benefits for calendar
year 2016 and any year thereafter.
(3) Fifty percent of all benefits received under the
Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. ยง 301 et seq.),
except Medicare benefits, for calendar year 2016 and any year
thereafter.
(4) All benefits received under State unemployment
insurance laws and veterans' disability payments.
(5) All interest received from the Federal or any state
government or any instrumentality or political subdivision
thereof.
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(6) Realized capital gains and rentals.
(7) Workers' compensation.
(8) The gross amount of loss of time insurance benefits,
life insurance benefits and proceeds, except the first $5,000
of the total of death benefit payments.
(9) Gifts of cash or property, other than transfers by
gift between members of a household, in excess of a total
value of $300.
The term does not include surplus food or other relief in kind
supplied by a governmental agency, property tax rebate or
inflation dividend.
"Real property taxes." All taxes on a homestead, exclusive
of municipal assessments, delinquent charges and interest, due
and payable during a calendar year.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Revenue of the Commonwealth.
Section 1303-A. Property tax rebate.
(a) Schedule of rebates.--The amount of any claim for
property tax rebate for real property taxes due and payable
during calendar year 2016 and any year thereafter shall be
determined in accordance with the following schedule:
Household Income
Amount of Real Property
Taxes Allowed as Rebate
$ 0 - $ 50,000 $200
(b) Limitation on claims.--No claim shall be allowed if the
amount of property tax rebate computed in accordance with this
section is less than $10, and the maximum amount of property tax
rebate payable shall not exceed $200.
(c) Apportionment.--If a homestead is owned and occupied for
only a portion of a year or is owned in part by a person who
does not meet the qualifications for a claimant, exclusive of
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any interest owned by a claimant's spouse, the department shall
apportion the real property taxes in accordance with the period
or degree of ownership or eligibility of the claimant in
determining the amount of rebate for which a claimant is
eligible.
Section 1304-A. Filing of claim.
(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in
subsection (b), a claim for property tax rebate shall be filed
with the department on or before June 30 of the year next
succeeding the end of the calendar year in which real property
taxes was due and payable.
(b) Exception.--A claim filed after the June 30 deadline
until December 31 of the calendar year shall be accepted by the
secretary as long as funds are available to pay the benefits to
the late filing claimant.
(c) Payments from State Lottery Fund.--No reimbursement on a
claim shall be made from the State Lottery Fund earlier than the
day following June 30 provided in this chapter on which that
claim may be filed with the department.
(d) Eligibility of claimants.--
(1) Only one claimant from a homestead each year shall
be entitled to the property tax rebate.
(2) If two or more persons are able to meet the
qualifications for a claimant, they may determine who the
claimant shall be.
(3) If they are unable to agree, the department shall
determine to whom the rebate is paid.
Section 1305-A. Proof of claim.
(a) Contents.--Each claim shall include:
(1) Reasonable proof of household income.
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(2) The size and nature of the property claimed as a
homestead.
(3) The tax receipt or other proof that the real
property taxes on the homestead have been paid.
(4) Reasonable proof of occupancy of the homestead for a
period of at least 10 years immediately preceding the
calendar year when the rebate is claimed.
(b) Direct payment of taxes not required.--It shall not be
necessary that the taxes were paid directly by the claimant if
the taxes have been paid when the claim is filed.
(c) Proof of age on first claim.--The first claim filed
shall include proof that the claimant or the claimant's spouse
was at least 66 years of age during the calendar year in which
real property taxes were due and payable.
Section 1306-A. Incorrect claim.
Whenever on audit of a claim the department finds the claim
to have been incorrectly determined, it shall redetermine the
correct amount of the claim and notify the claimant of the
reason for the redetermination and the amount of the corrected
claim.
Section 1307-A. Funds for payment of claims.
Approved claims shall be paid from the State Lottery Fund
established by the act of August 26, 1971 (P.L.351, No.91),
known as the State Lottery Law.
Section 1308-A. Claim forms and rules and regulations.
(a) General rule.--The department shall:
(1) Prescribe all necessary rules and regulations for
the implementation of this chapter.
(2) Receive all applications.
(3) Determine the eligibility of claimants.
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(4) Hear appeals.
(5) Disburse payments.
(6) Make available suitable forms for the filing of
claims.
(b) Report to General Assembly.--In addition to any rules
and regulations prescribed under subsection (a), the department
shall collect the following information and issue a report
including the information to the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and
the chairperson and minority chairperson of the Appropriations
Committee of the House of Representatives by September 30, 2017,
and September 30 of each year thereafter:
(1) The total number of claims which will be paid in the
fiscal year in which the report is issued with the
information provided by school district, by county and for
each household income level under section 1303-A(a).
(2) The total amount of rebates paid in the fiscal year
in which the report is issued with the information provided
by school district, by county and for each household income
level under section 1303-A(a).
Section 1309-A. Fraudulent claims and conveyances to obtain
benefits.
(a) Civil penalty.--In any case in which a claim is
excessive and was filed with fraudulent intent, the claim shall
be disallowed in full, and a penalty of 25% of the amount
claimed shall be imposed. The penalty and the amount of the
disallowed claim, if the claim has been paid, shall bear
interest at the rate of 1.5% per month from the date of the
claim until repaid.
(b) Criminal penalty.--The claimant and any person who
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assisted in the preparation or filing of a fraudulent claim
commits a misdemeanor of the third degree and, upon conviction,
shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to
imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both.
(c) Disallowance for receipt of title.--A claim shall be
disallowed if the claimant received title to the homestead
primarily for the purpose of receiving property tax rebate.
Section 1310-A. Petition for redetermination.
(a) Right to file.--A claimant whose claim is either denied,
corrected or otherwise adversely affected by the department may
file with the department a petition for redetermination on forms
supplied by the department within 90 days after the date of
mailing of written notice by the department of such action.
(b) Contents.--The petition shall set forth the grounds upon
which the claimant alleges that such departmental action is
erroneous or unlawful, in whole or part, and shall contain an
affidavit or affirmation that the facts contained in the
petition are true and correct.
(c) Extension of time for filing.--
(1) An extension of time for filing the petition may be
allowed for cause but may not exceed 120 days.
(2) The department shall hold hearings as may be
necessary for the purpose of redetermination, and each
claimant who has duly filed a petition for redetermination
shall be notified by the department of the time when and the
place where the hearing in the claimant's case will be held.
(d) Time period for decision.--The department shall, after
receiving a filed petition for redetermination, dispose of the
matters raised by the petition and shall mail notice of the
department's decision to the claimant.
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Section 1311-A. Review by Board of Finance and Revenue.
(a) Right to review.--Within 90 days after the date of
official receipt by the claimant of notice mailed by the
department of its decision on a petition for redetermination
filed with it, the claimant who is adversely affected by the
decision may by petition request the board to review the action.
(b) Effect of no decision from department.--The failure of
the department to officially notify the claimant of a decision
within the six-month period provided under section 1310-A shall
act as a denial of the petition, and a petition for review may
be filed with the board within 120 days after written notice is
officially received by the claimant that the department has
failed to dispose of the petition within the six-month period.
(c) Contents of petition for redetermination.--A petition
for redetermination filed shall state the reasons upon which the
claimant relies or shall incorporate by reference the petition
for redetermination in which the reasons were stated. The
petition shall be supported by affidavit that the facts set
forth in the petition are correct and true.
(d) Time period for decision.--The board shall act in
disposition of petitions filed with it within six months after
they have been received, and in the event of failure of the
board to dispose of any petition within six months, the action
taken by the department upon the petition for redetermination
shall be deemed sustained.
(e) Relief authorized by board.--The board may sustain the
action taken by the department on the petition for
redetermination or it may take other action as it shall deem
necessary and consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
(f) Form of notice.--Notice of the action of the board shall
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be given by mail to the department and to the claimant.
Section 1312-A. Appeal.
A claimant aggrieved by a decision of the board may appeal
from the decision of the board in the manner provided by law for
appeals from decisions of the board in tax cases.
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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