Deadline near for filing form for school tax relief

For the past four years, hundreds of property owners in the Kane Area School District have received a discount on their annual school tax bill.The tax relief is made possible, in part, through the allocation of state gaming revenue from casinos under state "Act 1" of a special state legislative session in 2006.To qualify for a discount, property owners are required to file a one-time application for a Homestead or Farmstead exclusion.While many property owners in the Kane school district have applications on file to qualify for the tax relief, several others have neglected to submit the necessary paperwork to the McKean County Assessment Office in Smethport.This year's deadline for applications is March 1-- just eight days away.Steve Perry, business manager for the Kane school district, last December mailed out notifications to all property owners who have yet to have a Homestead or Farmstead application on file for the tax relief program. It is up to the property owners to submit the applications to the county assessment office.Application forms are available at the school district business office or at the assessment office.Under the tax-relief program, the assessed value of each home or farm is reduced before the property tax is computed. In the Kane Area School District, the reduction last year was $255.99 for all eligible properties with approved applications.This is an across-the-board reduction for every approved applicant.Around May 1, school districts will be notified how much gaming revenue they will receive. This information will be used to calculate the amount of property tax relief for the 2012-13 school tax bills, which are due in August.Perry expects the tax-relief amount to be about the same as last year, although the figure "varies every year" based on the amount available for distribution and the number of eligible properties.According to figures provided by Perry, a total of 2,175 homes and 17 farms in the school district qualified for Homestead and Farmstead exclusions last year. The total includes 1,996 homes in Kane, Mt. Jewett, Wetmore Township and Hamilton Township (Ludow) and 179 homes in Highland Township and that portion of Jones Township in the school district. The total includes 14 farms in the McKean County portion of the district and three farms in the Elk County section of the district.See full article by purchasing the Feb. 23 edition of The Kane Republican.