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A03925
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1799
Session of
2023
INTRODUCED BY SIEGEL, PISCIOTTANO, HILL-EVANS, MADDEN, BOROWSKI,
FREEMAN, SCHLOSSBERG, BRENNAN, SANCHEZ, STURLA, SCHWEYER,
MALAGARI, CEPEDA-FREYTIZ, SMITH-WADE-EL, CONKLIN AND GREEN,
OCTOBER 27, 2023
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT, HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, MARCH 20, 2024
AN ACT
Authorizing local taxing authorities to provide for tax
exemptions for improvements and redevelopment of shopping
malls; establishing the Mixed-Use Redevelopment ADVISORY
COMMITTEE WITHIN THE STATE PLANNING Board; and conferring
powers and imposing duties on the Department of Community and
Economic Development; and establishing homeowners' property
tax rebate.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Mixed-Use
Redevelopment of Shopping Malls and Homeowners' Property Tax
Rebate Act.
Section 2. Findings and declaration of policy.
It is determined and declared as a matter of legislative
finding that there exists in this Commonwealth a number of empty
UNDERUTILIZED shopping malls which provide an economic liability
to the communities in which they sit. It is in the public
interest to promote redevelopment of these large parcels and
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return them to function in accordance with sound and approved
plans for their redevelopment that will promote public safety,
convenience and welfare.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Affordable housing." Any of the following:
(1) A single-family residence that is subject to HOME
AFFORDABILITY deed restrictions and occupied by an individual
or family whose income is not more than 60% of the area
median gross income.
(2) A multiunit residential dwelling where at least a
percentage, as defined by the municipality, of the
residential units are:
(i) rent-restricted; and
(ii) occupied by an individual or family whose
income is not more than 60% of area median income.
"Assessor." The chief assessor of a county, the equivalent
position in a home rule county or the equivalent position in a
city of the third class that performs its own assessments of
real property.
"Board." The Mixed-Use Redevelopment Board established under
section 4. STATE PLANNING BOARD ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF APRIL
9, 1929 (P.L.177, NO.175), KNOWN AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF
1929.
"COMMITTEE." THE MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ESTABLISHED BY THE BOARD UNDER SECTION 4.
"Department." The Department of Community and Economic
Development of the Commonwealth.
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"Developer." A taxpayer redeveloping a shopping mall FOR
MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT PURPOSES.
"Homeowner." An owner of a homestead who is:
(1) an individual who is domiciled in this Commonwealth;
(2) a grantor that has placed real property in a
revocable trust if the grantor is a natural person domiciled
in this Commonwealth; or
(3) a partner or shareholder of a family farm business,
as defined in section 1101-C of the Tax Reform Code, who is a
natural person domiciled in this Commonwealth.
"Homestead." The owner-occupied, primary residence and the
parcel of land within this Commonwealth on which the residence
is located. The term includes other improvements located on the
parcel. If a portion of the structure is used for a
nonresidential purpose, the homestead is equal to that portion
of the property used as the primary residence of the owner-
occupant. The term shall have no effect concerning the issue of
whether the property constitutes a homestead or homestead
property under any other act.
"Local taxing authority." A county, city, borough,
incorporated town, township, MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, institution
district or school district having authority to levy real estate
taxes.
"Mixed-use redevelopment." An urban, suburban, village
development or single building that combines residential,
commercial, cultural, institutional or industrial uses to
provide efficiency for the community in terms of space,
transportation and economic development.
"Municipal corporation." A city, borough, incorporated town
or township.
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"PROJECT AGREEMENT." AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN A DEVELOPER AND A
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY STATING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE
MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT OF A SHOPPING MALL AUTHORIZED BY THE
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY FOR A TAX EXEMPTION OR SPECIAL TAX
PROVISION UNDER SECTION 5.
"Property maintenance code." A municipal ordinance that
regulates the maintenance or development of real property. The
term includes a building code, ZONING CODE, housing code and
public safety code.
"Real estate tax." A tax on a homestead property imposed or
authorized to be imposed by a local taxing authority.
"Real property tax." The total real property tax imposed by
a school district on a homestead for the tax year. Real property
tax authorized by a city of the first class for a school
district of the first class shall constitute taxes imposed by a
school district for the purposes of this definition. The term
does not include payments made in lieu of taxes or any penalties
or interest paid in connection with the tax.
"Rebate." An amount equal to 100% of the real property tax
paid on the assessed value of a homestead to a school district
for the tax year.
"Redevelopment." Repair, construction or reconstruction,
including alterations and additions, having the effect of
rehabilitating a shopping mall so that the shopping mall attains
higher standards of safety, health, economic use or amenity or
is brought into compliance with laws, ordinances or regulations
governing safety, health, economic use or amenity standards. The
term shall not include ordinary upkeep and maintenance.
"Residence." A structure used as a place of habitation by
the owner of the structure.
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"Serious violation." A violation of a State law or a
property maintenance code that poses an immediate imminent
threat to the health and safety of a dwelling occupant,
occupants in surrounding structures or passersby.
"Shopping mall." A large building or series of connected
buildings containing a variety of stores for the purpose of
retail, food service or recreation. The term includes shopping
plazas, shopping centers and mini malls.
"Special tax provision." The refund or forgiveness of a
portion of a taxpayer's real estate tax liability as provided by
this act.
"Tax Reform Code." The act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2),
known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971.
"Tax year." A school district's previous fiscal year
beginning 2024-2025 and each fiscal year thereafter during which
real property tax is due and payable.
Section 4. Mixed-Use Redevelopment Board ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
(a) Establishment.--The Mixed-Use Redevelopment Board is
established in the department to provide THE BOARD SHALL
ESTABLISH THE MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE
PURPOSE OF PROVIDING MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS WITH guidance and
best practices for the redevelopment of shopping malls into
affordable housing and other mixed-use spaces for the benefit of
the community.
(b) Composition.--
(1) The board shall be composed of the following
members:
(i) The Secretary of Community and Economic
Development or a designee.
(ii) Four legislative appointees who shall have
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experience in real estate development or economic
development as follows:
(A) One individual appointed by the President
pro tempore of the Senate.
(B) One individual appointed by the Minority
Leader of the Senate.
(C) One individual appointed by the Speaker of
the House of Representatives.
(D) One individual appointed by the Minority
Leader of the House of Representatives.
(iii) Two gubernatorial appointees who shall have
experience in real estate development.
(2) Legislative appointees under paragraph (1)(ii) shall
serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
(3) An individual appointed to the board under paragraph
(1)(ii) shall not be a member of the General Assembly or
staff of a member of the General Assembly.
(c) Organization.--The Governor shall select a member of the
board to serve as chairperson. The members shall select from
among themselves officers as they shall determine.
(d) Meetings.--The board shall meet at the call of the
chair.
(e) Quorum.--Five members of the board shall constitute a
quorum.
(f) Compensation.--The members of the board shall be
entitled to no compensation for their service as members of the
board but shall be entitled to reimbursement for all necessary
and reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the
performance of their duties as members of the board.
(g) Fiduciary relationship.--The members of the board and
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the professional personnel of the board shall stand in a
fiduciary relationship with the Commonwealth.
(h) Initial appointment and vacancy.--Appointing authorities
shall appoint initial members to the board within 30 days of the
effective date of this subsection. If a vacancy occurs on the
board, the appointing authority shall appoint a successor member
within 30 days of the vacancy.
Section 5. Powers of board.
The board shall do all of the following:
(1) Adopt bylaws and guidelines proposed by the
department as necessary.
(2) Promulgate regulations and adopt guidelines and
statements of policy containing restrictions as the board may
deem necessary and appropriate to effectuate the public
purposes of this act.
(3) Prepare and publish best practices for the
redevelopment of shopping malls based on national standards
and models within six months of the creation of the board.
(B) COMPOSITION.--
(1) THE COMMITTEE SHALL BE COMPOSED OF MEMBERS WITH
EXPERTISE IN AREAS, INCLUDING:
(I) REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT.
(II) MUNICIPAL PLANNING.
(III) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
(IV) LAND USE PLANNING.
(2) THE COMMITTEE SHALL INCLUDE A MEMBER OF A STATEWIDE
TRADE ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED IN
ALL ASPECTS OF THE RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
INDUSTRY.
(C) GUIDELINES.--THE COMMITTEE SHALL DRAFT BEST PRACTICES
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GUIDELINES FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT OF SHOPPING MALLS BASED ON
NATIONAL STANDARDS AND MODELS. THE GUIDELINES SHALL BE POSTED ON
THE DEPARTMENT'S PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE INTERNET WEBSITE WITHIN SIX
MONTHS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION.
Section 6 5. Authority to provide special tax provisions.
(a) Construction.--This act shall be construed to authorize
local taxing authorities to provide special tax provisions
related to an increase in the value of real estate resulting
from mixed-use redevelopment OF SHOPPING MALLS within the
boundaries of the local taxing authority, implementing section
2(b)(iv) of Article VIII of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
(b) Approval required.--A tax exemption or special tax
provision authorized under this act is not enforceable until the
governing body of any one local taxing authority with
jurisdiction to levy real estate taxes on a property has
approved an ordinance or resolution adopting the tax exemption
or special tax provision. Other local taxing authorities may
approve a tax exemption or special tax provision subsequently.
(c) Notice.--
(1) Upon adoption of an ordinance or resolution adopting
the tax exemption or special tax provision under subsection
(a), each local taxing authority must post a notice of the
approval IN A NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION IN THE AREA. A
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY MAY ALSO POST THE NOTICE on its
publicly accessible Internet website, IF THE LOCAL TAXING
AUTHORITY POSSESSES A PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE INTERNET WEBSITE.
(2) If a local taxing authority does not possess a
publicly accessible Internet website, notice of the approval
of the tax exemption or special tax provision must be
published in a newspaper of general circulation in the area.
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(3) (2) If multiple local taxing authorities have mutual
jurisdiction to levy real estate taxes on a property, a joint
notice of implementation of the tax exemption or special tax
provision must be published in a newspaper of general
circulation in the area upon adoption by each local taxing
authority with mutual jurisdiction to levy real estate taxes
on the property. AND EACH LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY MUST POST A
NOTICE OF THE ADOPTION ON ITS PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE INTERNET
WEBSITE, IF THE LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY POSSESSES A PUBLICLY
ACCESSIBLE INTERNET WEBSITE.
Section 7 6. Exemption schedule.
(a) General rule.--A local taxing authority granting a tax
exemption under this act may provide for a tax exemption on the
assessment attributable to the actual cost of the mixed-use
redevelopment construction OF SHOPPING MALLS or up to a maximum
cost uniformly established by the municipal corporation. The
maximum cost must uniformly apply within the local taxing
authority's jurisdiction.
(b) Schedule.--Notwithstanding if an assessment eligible for
exemption is based upon actual cost or a maximum cost, the
actual amount of taxes exempt must be in accordance with at
least one of the following schedules, as determined by the local
taxing authority:
(1) For the first 10 years, 100% of the eligible
assessment is exempt for mixed-use redevelopment.
(2) For any of the following MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT
that are IS approved by the municipal corporation in which
the shopping mall is located, 100% of the eligible assessment
shall be exempt for an additional two years if at least one
is completed by a date as established by the municipality OF
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THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA IS MET TO THE SATISFACTION OF AND BY A
DATE ESTABLISHED BY THE LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY, and 100% of
the eligible assessment shall be exempt for an additional
five years if at least two are completed by a date as
established by the municipality OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA ARE
MET TO THE SATISFACTION OF AND BY A DATE ESTABLISHED BY THE
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY:
(i) A minimum amount of affordable housing as
defined and determined by the local taxing authority
granting the exemption in consultation with the local
planning authority.
(ii) Improved energy efficiency.
(iii) Installation of a renewable energy system that
provides electricity for 50% of the average electricity
needs for the mixed-use redevelopment.
(iv) Creation of greener or open space.
(v) Creation of lifestyle improvement projects,
including outdoor recreation space, walking paths,
bicycle paths or farmers markets.
(vi) Installation of charging stations for electric
vehicles.
(vii) Access to public transit.
(viii) The MIXED-USE redevelopment OF THE SHOPPING
MALL is subject to a project labor agreement.
(c) Sale or exchange.--A tax exemption authorized by an
ordinance or resolution adopted under this act shall be upon the
shopping mall exempt IS SPECIFIC TO REAL PROPERTY OF THE
SHOPPING MALL and shall not terminate upon the sale or exchange
of the property.
(d) Estimate.--A local taxing authority must provide upon
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request AND WITHIN 30 DAYS an estimate of the amount of
assessment exempted for each eligible property based on the
exemption schedule under subsection (b).
(e) Repayment.--
(1) A local taxing authority shall receive a return of
the local taxing authority's proportional share of taxes
exempt under this act if, within five years following the
redevelopment OF THE SHOPPING MALL, the following occur:
(i) a serious violation of State law or a municipal
code PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE exists on the property and
the owner has taken no substantial steps to correct the
violation within six months following notification of the
violation and for which fines or other penalties or a
judgment to abate or correct were imposed by a
magisterial district judge at law or in equity, not
subject to appellate review, or imposed by a court of
common pleas; or
(ii) the developer is subject to a municipal permit
denial under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to neighborhood
blight reclamation and revitalization) IN CONNECTION WITH
THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE SHOPPING MALL.
(2) At the time the A PROJECT agreement is entered into
between a local taxing authority and a developer who desires
a tax exemption under this act EXECUTED, if the developer has
not completed each requirement for exemption under section
9(a) 8(A) or is ineligible under section 9(b) 8(B) or (c),
the local taxing authority shall file a lien against the tax-
exempt property at the rate of the estimated amount of
assessment under subsection (d). The lien shall be forgiven
SATISFIED by the local taxing authority at the end of the
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fifth year following the completion of the redevelopment if
there have been no serious violations against the property
that have not been corrected TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE LOCAL
TAXING AUTHORITY. The lien on the property transfers REMAINS
under subsection (c) for UPON the sale or exchange of the
shopping mall.
Section 8 7. Exemption incentives procedure.
(a) Notification.--A developer desiring tax exemption FOR
THE REDEVELOPED PROPERTY AS authorized by an ordinance or
resolution adopted under this act must notify the local taxing
authority granting the exemption in writing on an application
form provided by the local taxing authority, which must be
submitted at the time the developer secures the building permit
or, if no building permit or other notification is required for
the redevelopment of the property, at the time the developer
commences construction. The application must include the
following information:
(1) A NOTARIZED statement of tax obligations, signed by
the applicant and the local taxing authority and notarized.
(2) An outline of specifications for the redevelopment
of the shopping mall indicating, with as much specificity as
practicable, the materials to be used for exterior and
interior finishes.
(3) An itemized cost estimate for the redevelopment of
the shopping mall. The itemization must:
(i) be on contractor letterhead; and
(ii) indicate the property address of the
redevelopment project.
(4) A preliminary architectural drawing or blueprint for
the redevelopment.
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(5) A recent appraisal of the property, if available.
(6) An applicable building permit application or
building permit.
(7) An income and expense report for the shopping mall,
which may be submitted directly to the county assessment
office in order to protect the confidentiality of the
information.
(8) The final decision of the zoning authority or other
regulatory agency granting relief, if applicable.
(9) The signature of the applicant and the date of
signing.
(10) Proof of a project labor agreement for the
redevelopment, IF APPLICABLE.
(b) Estimate.--The amount of assessment deemed eligible for
tax exemption under subsection (c) shall be available for public
inspection and copying so that a subsequent purchaser may be
informed of the amount of taxes to be paid after the exemption
EXPIRES.
(c) County assessment office.--
(1) A copy of the application submitted under subsection
(a) shall be forwarded to the county assessment office. After
completion of the developer's new construction or improvement
REDEVELOPMENT OF THE SHOPPING MALL, the county assessment
office shall:
(i) Separately assess the redevelopment and
calculate the amounts of the assessment eligible for tax
exemption in accordance with the limits established by
the local taxing authorities.
(ii) Notify the developer and the local taxing
authorities of the reassessment and amounts of the
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assessment eligible for exemption.
(2) Appeals from a reassessment and the amounts eligible
for the exemption may be taken MADE by the developer or the
local taxing authorities.
(d) Amendment of ordinance or resolution.--The cost of
redevelopment to be exempt and the schedule of taxes exempt that
exist at the time of the initial request for tax exemption must
apply to the exemption request. A subsequent amendment to the
ordinance or resolution does not apply to a request initiated
prior to adoption of the amendment.
Section 9 8. Eligibility requirements.
(a) General rule.--The completed redevelopment must:
(1) Conform to zoning ordinance requirements.
(2) Correct any municipal code violation.
(b) Ineligibility.--A property is deemed ineligible for tax
exemption under section 8(a) 7(A) if any of the following apply:
(1) The property receives other property tax abatement
or exemption incentives for new construction or improvement.
(2) The property receives tax relief through a State
program.
(3) The property owner or developer is delinquent on
property taxes related to the subject property, unless the
delinquent taxes are paid prior to redevelopment, or payment
of delinquent taxes has been arranged with the local taxing
authority in accordance with an installment plan.
(4) The property owner has a legal or equitable interest
in other property for which taxes are delinquent, unless the
delinquent taxes are paid prior to redevelopment, or payment
of delinquent taxes has been arranged with the local taxing
authority in accordance with an installment plan.
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(5) THE PROPERTY OWNER HAS A LEGAL OR EQUITABLE INTEREST
IN OTHER PROPERTY WITH THE BOUNDARIES OF THE MUNICIPAL
CORPORATION FOR WHICH THERE EXISTS A SERIOUS VIOLATION THAT
HAS NOT BEEN REMEDIED PRIOR TO FILING THE APPLICATION UNDER
SECTION 7.
(5) (6) Construction or other improvements for the
redevelopment of the shopping mall has commenced prior to
filing an application under section 8 7.
(c) Prohibitions.--For the period of time that a property
receives tax exemption under this act, a purchase or sale of the
property or a portion of the property may not be structured to
exclude or exempt the transaction from a realty transfer tax due
to a taxing authority that would not be excluded or exempt,
except for the following:
(1) A sheriff sale or tax claim bureau sale.
(2) A corrective deed.
(3) A transfer by a mortgagor to the holder of a bona
fide mortgage in default in lieu of a foreclosure.
(4) A transfer to a judicial sale in which the
successful bidder is the bona fide holder of a mortgage.
(5) A transaction excluded from the realty transfer tax
under Article XI-C of the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2),
known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971.
Section 9. Property tax rebate qualifications.
(a) Issuance.--Subject to section 10, a rebate shall be
issued on account of school real property taxes for a homestead
if all of the following apply:
(1) The homeowner occupied the homestead during the tax
year.
(2) The homeowner has paid real property tax owed on the
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homestead for the tax year.
(3) The homeowner is the homestead owner of record as of
January 1 of the tax year.
(4) The homeowner applies in a form and time prescribed
by the Department of Revenue.
(b) Multiple individuals on title.--If the title to a
homestead is held by more than one individual, a rebate shall be
issued in the name appearing on the school property tax record.
Section 10. Rebate.
(a) Administration.--The Department of Revenue shall
establish any administrative and application procedures and
deadlines necessary to administer and implement section 9. To
facilitate the timely implementation, the provisions of Article
III Part X of the Tax Reform Code and Article VII of the act of
April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal Code, shall
not apply. The Department of Revenue may enter into any
contracts necessary.
(b) Assessor list.--Every assessor shall submit to the
Department of Revenue a list of homestead owners of record as of
July 1 each year within its jurisdiction. The list shall include
only those homeowners of record who have fully paid the prior
year taxes owed on the homestead of the homeowner.
(c) Timeline and determination.--Only those lists submitted
within 30 days of the effective date of this subsection shall be
reviewed by the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue
shall make the initial determination of rebate eligibility from
information submitted by the homeowner. The Department of
Revenue shall thereafter forward the list of eligible homeowners
to the respective assessor.
(d) Verification and corrections.--Within 30 days after
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receipt of the list of eligible homeowners, the assessor shall
verify the list and report any necessary corrections to the
Department of Revenue.
(e) Authorization and issuance of rebate.--The following
apply:
(1) The Department of Revenue shall finalize the list
and authorize rebates. A rebate authorized under this
section may not exceed $1,000.
(2) Rebates shall be issued and mailed to all homeowners
on the final verified list by October 20 of each year.
(3) If the assessor fails to verify the list or notify
the Department of Revenue of any corrections within the time
limitations under subsection (d), the Department of Revenue
shall authorize rebates to all homeowners on the list
developed by the Department of Revenue under subsection (c).
Section 11. Petitions for review.
A homeowner whose rebate is either denied, corrected or
otherwise adversely affected by either the Department of Revenue
or the assessor may petition for administrative review in the
manner prescribed by the Department of Revenue. An individual
aggrieved by the Department of Revenue's action in connection
with the administrative review may petition for review in the
manner specified under Article XXVII of the Tax Reform Code.
Section 12. Penalties.
(a) False, misleading or improper receipt of rebate.--A
homeowner who receives a rebate through false or misleading
information or who otherwise improperly receives a rebate may be
required to do the following:
(1) refund to the Department of Revenue the amount of
rebate received;
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(2) pay a civil penalty of $50 to the Department of
Revenue; or
(3) pay both penalties under paragraphs (1) and (2).
(b) Offset of rebate.--The Department of Revenue may offset
any rebate due to a homeowner against collectible liabilities
owed to the Commonwealth by the homeowner for taxes imposed
under Article III of the Tax Reform Code.
Section 13. Erroneous rebates.
(a) Correction and notification.--If the Department of
Revenue determines or finds a rebate to have been incorrectly or
erroneously paid, it shall redetermine the correct amount of the
rebate, if any, and notify the homeowner of the reason for the
correction and the amount of the rebate.
(b) Rebate recoverable.--If a rebate has been issued in
error and the homeowner fails to refund the rebate upon the
Department of Revenue's request, the rebate shall be recoverable
by the Department of Revenue in the same manner as assessments
as provided for in Chapter 13 of the act of June 27, 2006 (1st
Sp.Sess., P.L.1873, No.1), known as the Taxpayer Relief Act.
Section 14. Construction.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,
any property tax rebate received shall not be considered
"income" under Article III of the Tax Reform Code or for
purposes of determining eligibility for any State government
program, including, but not limited to, those programs
authorized by Chapter 5 of the act of August 26, 1971 (P.L.351,
No.91), known as the State Lottery Law.
Section 10 9 15. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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