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Homeowners need to re-file for Homestead tax break

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A new state law aimed at preventing tax fraud requires homeowners who want to claim the Indiana Homestead Deduction to file for the tax break, even if they have done so in the past.

The law, passed in 2009, says homeowners will lose their deduction beginning in 2013 if they don't complete and return a homestead verification form by Jan. 1, 2013.

Beginning this spring, tax bills will begin including the verification form. Homeowners are allowed to file for the deduction on their primary residence only.

The aim, according to the legislation’s author, is to reduce tax fraud by Hoosiers who file for the deduction on more than one residence.

“There are a lot of people who have duplicate home deductions,” said Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis. “With the property-tax cap coming into play, I thought it was important to get the database cleaned up.”

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance maintains the state database of homestead deduction information provided by county auditors. But more data required on the new form should help to cut down on tax fraud, Pryor said.

The form requires homeowners to include the last five digits of their Social Security number and the last five digits of their driver’s license number—information that previously was not required.

The database currently contains a homeowner’s name and address. But if the same name is listed five times, there is no way of determining if it's five different people with the same name or one person claiming the deduction on multiple properties, Pryor said.

The additional information will also prevent people from claiming multiple deductions under different names. Homeowner Robert Smith, for instance, also might be filing for the deduction on a rental unit under the name Bob Smith.

Indiana County Auditors’ Association President Bill Borne, who serves as Adams County auditor, thinks the new system will be successful.

“If the DLGF sends me an e-mail [of a homeowner] who has [a house] in Marshall County and one in Adams County, and he has the same Social Security number, am I going to check that out?” he said. “Absolutely.”

State law requires the form to be mailed with all property tax statements through 2012. The form, however, must only be completed once by Jan. 1, 2013.

Lawmakers provided homeowners a three-year window to give them an opportunity to correct any wrongdoing, and to alert them of the fines and penalties involved, Pryor said.

Anyone caught breaking the new law will have to pay back taxes, in addition to a fine of 10 percent of the amount owed.

Average homeowners who fail to re-file for the tax break risk losing hundreds of dollars in tax credits.

Additional information about the homestead verification form is available online.
 

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  • Homestead Exemption
    I'd like to confirm my Homestead exemption.
  • salaries/wages ceos
    should one should look into salaries in the past 2 two years of ceos in indpls indiana,you might be surprised what you will find.i was amazed at what i found which is public information startwith all the utility companies,wow what big raises in a couple of years.some are at 800.00 per/hour.gosh that is a great hourly wage..but utilities keep going up and being sold from right out the taxpayers and public.soon indpls will own no equitity in the city and state..how do you float a bond issue with no assets..wake up indiana...this is not right,you are paying the price...
  • lawsuit yet to protect ID-homestead exemption
    Anyone hear of a class action lawsuit vs. State of Indiana for ID protection in connection with requirement for Homestead Exemption .... maybe invasion or extortion grounds ?
  • security and homestead exemption
    5 digits PLUS Drivers License---- if one also adds an exemption for age... then voila, complete ID theft material. are offenders in Southern Indiana still inputting drivers license info ?
  • Flabbergasted!
    What??? What is the meaning of, Please return this form (the pink one) by April 30, 2010? I know people who are scrambling to get the form in by tomorrow. Also, if you have a question, DON'T call the number on the pink form which says, For any questions, please call (317) 327-4646 because you'll be on hold for a minimum of 25 minutes and then be greeted by someone who has no interest in answering your question(s)or assisting you in any way. Her only goal is to get you off the phone as fast as possible. Why no e-mail address for questions? Someone, please HELP!
  • Take Responsibility!!
    So Joyce... you're probably one of those people that complains after utility rates go up (when it's too late to complain) because you didn't read the notice with prior months bills since it "looked like all the other junk in the letter". Take some personal responsibility... it's not your credit card company, a cable company, a credit card company, or any other company trying to sell you something... it's from your county office, read everything in it!!! That is the problem now... no one wants to take responsibility... "I didn't know" or "No one told me... even though the information was given to me, but no one spoon fed me so I didn't know"... blah, blah, blah. Take responsibility!!

    And for the other part of your post... read the article, they're giving you until Jan. 1, 2013 to complete it once!!! How much more time do you need?!!! Let me guess, they should have given you 10 years notice? Nah, 10 years isn't enought time either. I'm sure they're going to put those notices out in every tax bill you get until Jan. 1, 2013... plenty of time to fill it out!

    And for the security issue, it's only 5 digits... since it's taxes, I'm sure they could ask for all 9 digits if they really wanted to. So, quit double-dipping and give them the 5 digits already.
    • Why 5 digits?
      Why do they need 5 digits of a social security number? Can we scream identity theft? You can still have these security checks and balances without making taxpayers give out 5 digits. Can Pryor explain that?
    • Homestead Deductions
      Excuse me for being a cynic, but this looks like the government trying to get out of giving discounts on property tax to legitimate home owners. It would be really easy to not notice the pink form inserted in the property tax statements. It looks like all the other junk mail that is included in our utility bills, etc.
    • Thank you for clarifying
      I just received my tax notice and the form in the mail this week and wondered why we had to do this (wasn't sure if it was legit at first).

      Thanks for putting out this notice to clarify!

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