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Tax Rebate Program Approved for Nazareth Area

The school board has approved an extension of the homestead/farmstead tax reduction program and a tax rebate program for senior citizens and certain disabled people.

Attention Nazareth area taxpayers: The school board has approved an extension of the homestead/farmstead tax reduction program and a tax rebate program for senior citizens and certain disabled people.

That adds up to a $209.54 savings for all approved homesteads and farmsteads. And for seniors and the disabled participating in the rebate program, it means a maximum rebate of $650 for households with annual incomes of $8,000 or less.

Nazareth schools business administrator Bernadine Rishcoff said the tax reduction and rebate amounts are about the same as in the current school year.

The number of approved homesteads in the district stands at 7,616 and the number of approved farmsteads is 30, according to information on the school board’s agenda for Monday night’s meeting, where the programs were approved.

The homestead/farmstead program involves property tax assessment reductions, while the program for seniors and the disabled involves tax rebates.

The rebates also are available for incomes higher than $8,000. For incomes from $8,001 to $15,000, the maximum rebate would be $500. For incomes from $15,001 to $18,000, the maximum rebate would be $300. And for incomes from $18,001 to $35,000, the maximum rebate would be $250.

No rebates are available for incomes over $35,000.

The school board resolution for the rebate program said it is for "certain senior citizens, widows, widowers and disabled persons with fixed and limited incomes."

In an e-mail to Patch.com, Rishcoff explained how the homestead/farmstead program works:

To qualify for a homestead reduction, a property owner has to have the property as his/her primary residence.

The school district pays tax collector Berkheimer Associates of Bangor to send notices to property owners who may qualify but have not been approved. The applicant has to complete the forms and return them.

Northampton County then reviews this information to determine if a property owner qualifies. If so, the county adjusts the tax record accordingly.

As for the senior citizen/disabled rebates, Rishcoff said the rebate forms are available on the district’s website, www.nazarethasd.org. Property owners, she said, have to meet state criteria for the state’s rebate program. The district’s program mirrors the state program, she said.

More information on both tax programs can be found on the agenda for Monday night’s (May 13) school board meeting. The agenda can be accessed through the district’s website.

The agenda also notes that the state Department of Education will pay the district $1,601,353.29 as a source for the homestead/farmstead reductions. Of that amount, most -- $1,583,284.36 – is from gambling tax funds.

The remainder -- $18,068.93 – is from Philadelphia tax credit reimbursement funds.

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