Big changes this year with the prebate/rebate system used for property tax relief in Vermont. Starting in 2007, any prebate and/or rebate checks that the state would normally send you are now being sent directly to the town you live in.
In the old system, taxpayers would fill out two separate forms. They would then receive a prebate at the beginning of the year and a rebate after they filed their taxes. The amount of the prebate and rebate depended on whether the taxpayer filed a homestead declaration for their house and if they met income eligibility guidelines.
In the new system, taxpayers fill out one form, and any property tax relief will be sent directly to your town. The homeowner will then get a bill from the town for the difference between the original property tax bill and the amount of relief they qualify for.
This was part of Act 185, a bill passed in 2006, as a way to try and tie property tax relief payments directly to the actual property tax.
"It was to make a much closer connection between the property tax assistance that the state has been doing and the property tax bill. It is to show that this is the amount that the state has actually assisted the homeowner with their property taxes. So what better way to that then to send it to the town and deduct it from your bill," said Gloria Hobson of the Vermont Tax Department.
The deadline to file for your homestead declaration is tax day, April 17th. If you do that, the state will send your property tax relief check to your city or town by July 1st.
Homestead owners can also designate all or some of their state income tax refund to go directly to the town to pay their property taxes. That can be done by using Line 33b of your 2006 Vermont income tax return.
One other thing... Renters have a new due date to make their renter rebate claim. They must file no later than September 4, 2007.
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