Discount: September 3, 2013
Face: September 4, 2013 to October 31, 2013
Penalty: November 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013
Installment Payment Plan Due Dates:
Initial Payment: On or before August 1, 2013
Second Payment: On or before October 1, 2013
Third Payment: On or before December 2, 2013
State College Area School District Property Owners – Important Update 2013
Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion and Installment Payment Plans
Who is affected by the homestead/farmstead exclusion? All property owners residing in the State College Area School District. This applies to school district property taxes only. Please check with your municipality to see if there is an exemption for municipal taxes.
What is a homestead/farmstead exclusion? Act 1 of 2006, also known as the Taxpayer Relief Act, provides district residents with an opportunity for real estate tax relief through a homestead/farmstead exclusion. Funded by gambling revenues provided by the state, the district will exclude from real estate taxation a uniform dollar amount of the assessed value of homestead and farmstead properties that have been approved.
What is an approved homestead/farmstead property? Taxpayers must apply for approval by completing and submitting an application to the Centre County Board of Assessment. An approved homestead/farmstead property, therefore, is a taxpayer’s primary residence that has been granted homestead/farmstead status by the Centre County Board of Assessment based on the application submitted. Please note that an individual cannot have more than one primary residence at any time.
If I have a homestead and/or farmstead but have not applied for an exclusion, how do I apply? Applications are available at the Centre County Assessment Office during normal working hours. Anyone interested in completing an application can contact the office and request an application or visit Centre County’s website to print an application. The assessment office is located at:
Centre County Tax Assessment Office Willowbank Building
If I apply now, will my 2013 tax bill be adjusted to reflect the homestead/farmstead exclusion and reduction in taxes? The deadline for filing a completed application that would have reduced your 2013 school district property tax bill was March 1, 2013. A taxpayer may contact the Centre County Tax Assessment Office at any time to obtain an application. For applications submitted after the deadline, the reduction will be effective for the following tax year, in this case 2014. As required by Act 1 of 2006, the district sends the required notices to eligible property owners by December 31st each year.
Do I have any responsibilities under the homestead and/or farmstead exclusion? Once you have received official notification that your application has been approved, you must notify the Assessment Office if the use of your property changes to an unqualified property. For example, if you rent your home, rent a portion of your home, or elect to use an area of the dwelling for commercial purposes, your approved exclusion may be lost or pro-rated for partial use of the dwelling. Any change of use must be reported to the Centre County Assessment Office within 45 days. Also, remember that a change in ownership requires the new owners to complete and submit an application to the Assessment Office in order to have the primary residence approved for a homestead/farmstead exclusion. The homestead/farmstead exclusion does not automatically transfer if a property is sold. New owners should contact the Assessment Office after their closing to begin their application process.
How is the homestead/farmstead exclusion calculated? The amount of the homestead/farmstead exclusion is calculated by dividing the total gaming funds received by the number of approved homesteads/farmsteads certified by the Centre County Board of Assessment. The amount of the exclusion has the potential of varying each year based upon the amount of gaming funds provided to the district and the number of approved homesteads/farmsteads located in the district.
Does State College Area School District allow installment payments of the school tax due on properties? Yes. Act 1 of 2006 provided an opportunity for residential homestead/farmstead qualified and approved property owners to enter into installment payment plans for their school district real estate taxes. Significant legislation, Act 25 of 2011, was passed to further extend the installment payment option by authorizing small businesses (as defined by the Act) to also participate in the installment payment plan. The State College Area School District, by its authority, has elected to extend this option to all property owners. Please see the attached payment coupons for the applicable payment dates and amount due for each of the three coupons. If your tax statement does not have coupons attached, the tax office records indicate that you were ineligible to take part for the current tax billing due to late installment payments in the prior tax year. This option will be restored in the next tax year.
Please note that the installment payment plan is optional. Taxpayers should review their specific situation to determine whether to pay once or remit their payments using the installment plan. If you elect to pay by the installment option, please note that one requirement of the plan is that you forfeit the 2% discount.
What if my taxes are escrowed? Although the installment method is available for escrowed properties, we have received survey responses indicating that the escrow companies intend to remit the full tax due before the end of the discount period to qualify for payment at discount. We expect escrow companies to follow the same payment procedures used in prior years. Please consult with your escrow company to confirm its intentions to pay at discount. If applicable, a copy of your tax notice was provided to your escrow agent on your behalf. An escrow mailing will be noted on the face of the enclosed tax notice. If your escrow agent will be paying your tax notice, please retain the enclosed tax notice for your records and allow the escrow agent to remit payment of the tax due. If no escrow comment appears on your tax notice but your taxes are escrowed, it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to forward the tax notice to the escrow company for payment. To streamline this process in future years, please ask your escrow agent to request in writing your tax notice from the tax office. This will ensure that a copy of your tax notice is automatically forwarded for payment on your behalf.
Can I make payments on my county, township, and school district bills? At this time, the only taxing body that has authorized installment payments for its regular annual tax notice is the State College Area School District. Installment payment plans will not be authorized for supplemental bills that are periodically issued by the Centre County Tax Assessment Office.
Can I pay by ACH or credit cards? At this time, the local tax offices are not able to offer these types of payment options for school district real estate taxes. Please check back with the tax office at a later date to determine whether payment options have been expanded as an increased level of customer service.