Don't Overlook Homeowner/Renter Tax Credit

Posted on 01/13/22

Tax

With tax season in full swing, AARP Montana wants to remind older Montanans about the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Tax Credit.

For Montanans who turned 62 or older in 2021, the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Tax Credit can bring up to $1,000. Like the Earned Income Tax Credit, it’s refundable, so even those who owe no tax at all could receive the credit.

“It’s extremely important to make sure that any tax credits or refunds are not overlooked,” said Tim Summers, AARP Montana State Director.  “To someone on a fixed income, every dollar counts.”

To qualify, you need to have resided in Montana at least nine months in 2021; have rented, owned or leased a home in the state for six months; and the total income of your household—not just yourself—must be $45,000 or lower.

Claiming the credit is easy as part of your paper or electronic Montana income tax return. If you don’t file a return at all, you can claim the credit online at MTRevenue.gov. That’s the fastest and most secure way of claiming the credit, but if you prefer to file on paper, you need to fill out just a portion of Form 2, the main state income tax form. It’s also available at MTRevenue.gov or by calling (406) 444-6900.

Trained and IRS-certified AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are also prepared to help answer questions about the Montana Elderly Homeowner/Renter Tax Credit.

“We know most older Montanans want to stay in their homes as they age, but the cost of upkeep can be a strain on limited incomes. That includes property taxes. This tax credit was designed to help offset ever-increasing property taxes for older homeowners. We encourage eligible Montanans to make sure they’re receiving this important tax credit,” said Summers.

Home prices have skyrocketed in the past year, and these rising values often result in higher bills. While property taxes vary greatly by location, Montana’s average yearly property tax increase is 5% which is drastically higher than the national yearly property tax increase average of roughly 3.2%, according to the Frontier Institute.

According to the Gardner Report of real estate trends, home prices in Montana averaged $666,391 in the third quarter of 2021, which is 22.5% higher than a year ago and 40.6% higher than the prior quarter.

Meanwhile, seniors on a fixed income aren't able to keep pace with these increases.

Quick Glance Q & A about the Montana Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit

What is the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit?
The Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit is a Montana income tax credit up to $1,000 for seniors who rent or own a home in Montana, even if they don’t make any income. It is an income tax credit for property taxes paid. The credit is for property taxes billed and paid directly or property taxes paid indirectly through rent.

How do I qualify?
You are eligible for this credit if you:

  • Are 62 or older on December 31, 2021,
  • Lived in Montana for at least 9 months,
  • Live in the same home for at least six months, and
  • Have a household income under $45,000.

Do I need to make any income to qualify?
No. Many seniors miss out on this refund because they don’t file a tax return since they don’t make any income. To get the refund, you must file your income taxes, even if you made no income last year.

How do I claim this credit?
People can file their Montana Individual Income Tax Return and claim the credit with MTQuickFile in the TransAction portal for free by visiting http://mtrevenue.gov and searching homeowner/renter elderly tax credit. If you have a Montana filing requirement, you need to complete Form 2 and use the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit schedule on page 10.

This story is provided by AARP Montana. Visit the AARP Montana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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