The tax rebate program is a bit cumbersome. Unlike past rebate programs, instead of mailing a check to all eligible taxpayers, the Montana Department of Revenue is requiring you to apply for your tax rebate. That means you’re going to have to jump through a few hoops to get your rebate (and it also means the administrative overhead is quite expensive).
- STEP 1. Determine if you qualify
Not all property taxpayers are eligible for the tax rebate. In fact, the rebate is not available to some of the biggest tax-paying groups in the state, like ag producers and small businesses. You may only apply for a rebate for property taxes paid on your private home, and only if that home is your primary residence and was occupied by you for at least 7 months in 2006. The rebate will apply to property taxes paid on houses, multi-unit dwellings, manufactured homes, mobile homes, and trailers.If you moved within the state in 2006 and have not lived in your current residence for 7 months or more, you may add on the time spent in your prior residence, but only if you owned the prior residence and the aggregate time resided in the two residences is greater than 7 months.
Renters do not qualify for the rebate, regardless of time spent in a home.
If you paid less than $400 in property taxes in 2006, you may add in the taxes you paid in 2005 and 2004, but only if you occupied the same dwelling throughout that time.
This may seem a little confusing, but suffice it to say that if you owned and occupied one home for all of 2006, you will probably qualify for the rebate.
- STEP 2. Make sure you get an application
The logical way to administer the tax rebate program would be for the Department of Revenue to send out a tax rebate application to every residential taxpayer. Instead DOR is trying to determine who qualifies and who doesn’t beforehand, and they’re going to restrict their mailing universe to the households they think qualify. Most people will still get their application, but a handful of eligible taxpayers may not.DOR is mailing the applications in “late August;” an exact date has not yet been set. If you do not receive an application by mail by mid-September, they will also be available on the State of Montana’s web site at www.mt.gov.
- STEP 3. Don’t miss the deadline
Even though most people don’t start worrying about tax issues until March or April, the deadline for this rebate is December 31, 2007. If you wait until it’s time to pay your taxes next year, you’ll be too late.