by Dennis Dalman
Steve Hennes, a member of the Sartell City Council, wants all residents to know what could turn out to be good news – that some may be eligible for a state homestead-credit refund, in some cases $1,000 or more.
At the last council meeting, Hennes said he learned about it in a bulletin from the League of Greater Minnesota Cities. He said he and his wife filled out the form online and received a refund. Too many people, he said, do not know about the special refund.
Many taxpayers assumed they would not be eligible for such refunds this year and so they did not file for them. But legislative changes last May – a month after the April taxes due date – expanded and boosted the refund and so taxpayers should now double-check to see if they are eligible so they can still file for refunds by Aug. 15, 2015.
In late August 2014, the Minnesota Department of Revenue distributed notices to taxpayers that they may be eligible for at least a $1,000 state-paid refund under the homestead credit refund program. However, that DOR notification was sent only to homeowners who are likely eligible for at least a $1,000 homestead credit refund and those who have not previously filed for the refund. Those homeowners received a mailed notice. Many homeowners who were not notified by the DOR may be eligible for refunds smaller than $1,000. The only way they will know is if they apply.
There are also potential refunds available for renters for the portion of rent they paid deemed applicable to property taxes landlords paid on the property.
In addition, a special property-tax refund is possible for some homeowners who have seen large property-tax increases.
Taxpayers have until Aug. 15, 2015 to file for a homestead-credit refund based on their 2013 household income and their 2014 property taxes.
To determine eligibility or to apply for refunds mentioned above, go to www.revenue.state.mn.us. Then type “Homeowners” in the Search box. To the upper right, you will see a link to “Property Tax Refund Online Filing System.” Click on that.
The following are the basic eligibility criteria for applying for the homestead-tax credit: total household income for 2013 is less than $105,500; the taxpayer owned and lived in the home Jan. 2, 2014; the taxpayer was a full-year or part-time resident of Minnesota in 2013; and the taxpayer is not claimed as a dependent for income-tax purposes.
The homestead-credit refund, which used to be called “property-tax refund,” was expanded by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013 as part of the omnibus tax bill. In the 2014 omnibus tax bill, the legislature increased the refund available to each homeowner by 3 percent.