Suburban tax rebates up, thanks to gaming revenue

Posted: May 05, 2012

When school tax bills arrive this year, many property owners in the Pennsylvania suburbs will be getting a few more dollars than last year in rebates financed by gambling revenue.

On average, those in the rebate program will get about $230 — $5 more than last year.

This week, state Department of Education officials released the amounts that property owners in each of Pennsylvania’s school districts could expect in tax relief under Act 1 of 2006.

All residential property owners are eligible to participate in the rebate program, but they must sign up to do so; the annual deadline to apply for inclusion is March 1, so it is too late to apply for this year.

Forms are available through school districts or county assessors’ offices. People only have to sign up once.

Participants don’t receive checks; instead, they get reduced tax bills. The property-tax relief varies by school district and is weighted to give qualifying residents in high-poverty districts more.

Taxpayers in Delaware County’s Chester Upland district will get the largest rebate: $632. Those in Montgomery County’s Upper Merion will get the smallest: $72. In all, about 615,500 residents in the suburbs will split about $141.4 million.

The total number of Philadelphia-area property owners in the rebate program increased about 2,000 since last year; the amount available for the suburbs went up $3.4 million. This is the fifth year in which school tax rebates have been paid.

Cheltenham, Montgomery County, property tax payers will see the largest increase in their rebate: $57. Those in Bucks County’s Quakertown district will see the largest rebate reduction: $10.

Philadelphia’s share of the money — about $86.3 million — is used to reduce the city wage tax. The city is getting about the same amount as last year.

Statewide, districts will share $595 million in property tax rebates or wage relief. An additional $138 million will go to a separate low-income property-tax and rental-rebate program. And about $21 million will reimburse Philadelphia-area districts for the loss of revenue they incur because state law prohibits them from collecting income taxes from residents who work in Philadelphia and pay the wage tax there.

Contact Dan Hardy at 610-313-8134 or dhardy@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @DanInq.

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