It is a noteworthy tax break for property owners in Allegheny County. Unfortunately not everyone happens to know about it.
At the same time, there are some property owners who not only know about the homestead exemption, but are doubling their savings.
Property owners in Allegheny County, who have been undergoing a controversial reassessment for 2013, have an opportunity to receive a deduction of $18,000.00 from the assessed value of their property by applying for a homestead exemption. It is a one-time process and will save more than few dollars in county taxes every year. Unfortunately, there are countless homeowners who have no idea the program exists.
On the other hand, there are some multiple property owners who do. And through either confusion or intent, they are claiming these deductions on each property they own. The problem is, you can only use the homestead exemption on one property.
The provisions of the homestead tax break state you have to actually live in the house and haven’t tried to get an exemption on any other property. According to the homestead application, lying on the form can lead to a fine of $2,500.00 and repayment of back taxes.
While Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner calls the practice of claiming multiple homestead exemptions “fraud,” she admits enforcement is a difficult practice. The ongoing reassessment has revealed a few violations and, in a report she released in December, Wagner called for a common tracking number for property owners seeking exemptions to avoid multiple deductions.
In the meantime, if you are declaring homestead exemptions on more than one property during your property tax assessment, it is a good idea to correct the mistake, claim the tax break on the home where you reside, and set the record straight.