Individuals seeking relief on this year’s school property tax bills are urged to check their status for homestead/farmstead exclusions prior to March 1, and apply if eligible, according to Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks).

If a homeowner’s application is accepted, a portion of the property’s assessed value is exempt from the property tax, thus lowering the overall tax bill. The state is then responsible for the difference between the two amounts, using proceeds from gambling revenue to pay the balance.

Many individuals may have already filed applications for this benefit several years ago when the Homeowner Tax Relief Act was enacted. Applications remain valid for a minimum of three years. Homeowners may want to verify the status of their applications by consulting their county assessment office.

Individuals qualify for a homestead exclusion so long as the property for which they are applying is their primary residence. A farmstead exclusion is also available for buildings and structures that are used for commercial agriculture production on a farm of at least 10 acres. Again, the farm must serve as their primary residence.

Residents who acquire property in the school district after the March 1 deadline must wait until the following year to qualify for a homestead or farmstead exclusion.

Benefits from this program vary widely depending on the school district in which the homeowner resides. The Homeowner Tax Relief Act, which is also known as Act 1, requires that the state distribute a minimum of $400 million in property tax relief.

Homestead/farmstead exclusion applications are available through the Berks County Assessment Office at (610) 478-6262 and the Lehigh County Assessment Office at (610) 782-3038.

For more information, go to https://dced.pa.gov/local-government/property-tax-relief-homestead-exclusion/.

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