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§ 19-1301.1. Homestead Exclusion. 164
(1) For purposes of this Section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) Homestead property shall mean a dwelling, including the parcel of land on which the dwelling is located and the other improvements located on the parcel, for which any of the following apply, as determined by the OPA upon application of the property owner:
(.1) The dwelling is primarily used as the domicile of an owner who is a natural person. "Homestead property" shall not include the land on which the dwelling is located if the land is not owned by a person who owns the dwelling.
(.2) The dwelling is a unit in a condominium as the term is defined in 68 Pa. C.S. § 3103 (relating to definitions) and the unit is primarily used as the domicile of a natural person who is an owner of the unit; or the dwelling is a unit in a cooperative as the term is defined in 68 Pa. C.S. § 4103 (relating to definitions) and the unit is primarily used as the domicile of a natural person who is an owner of the unit. The homestead for a unit in a condominium or a cooperative shall be limited to the assessed value of the unit, which shall be determined in a manner consistent with the assessment of real property taxes on those units under 68 Pa. C.S. (relating to real and personal property) or as otherwise provided by law. If the unit is not separately assessed for real property taxes, the homestead shall be a pro rata share of the real property.
(.3) The dwelling does not qualify under subsection (1)(a)(.1) or (1)(a)(.2) and a portion of the dwelling is used as the domicile of an owner who is a natural person. The homestead for real property qualifying under this subsection (1)(a)(.3) shall be the portion of the real property that is equal to the portion of the dwelling that is used as the domicile of an owner.
(b) OPA. Office of Property Assessment.
(c) BRT. Board of Revision of Taxes.
(2) Commencing in tax year 2014, through and including tax year 2018, a homestead exclusion is hereby provided in the lesser amount of (i) thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) multiplied by the established predetermined ratio; or (ii) fifty percent (50%) of the median assessed value of properties granted a homestead exemption, as certified by the OPA by no later than November 15 of the year prior to the tax year. 165
(2.1) For tax year 2019, a homestead exclusion is hereby provided in the amount of forty thousand dollars ($40,000). 166
(2.2) Commencing in tax year 2020, and continuing thereafter, a homestead exclusion is hereby provided in the amount of forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000). 167
(3) The exclusion authorized under subsection (2) for a dwelling that is used as homestead property for only a portion of the year prior to the Year of Tax, whether because of new construction or otherwise, shall be prorated in a manner consistent with the assessment of real property taxes on that dwelling.
(4) Administration and procedure.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no later than September 13 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due, the owner or owners of real property may apply to the OPA for designation of property as homestead property. Such application shall be in such form as the OPA shall prescribe, consistent with any form mandated by the Department of Community and Economic Development. 168
(.1) In the event that a property transfer takes place after the deadline specified in subsection (4)(a) or within 30 days prior to such deadline, the owner or owners of real property may apply to the OPA for a designation of the property as homestead property within 30 days of the date on which said property is transferred into the new owner or owners' name(s), provided that such application is received by OPA no later than December 1 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due.
(.2) With respect to applications received by the OPA pursuant to subsection (.1), if it is impracticable for the Department to include the homestead exclusion in the tax bill, the taxpayer shall pay the full amount set forth in the tax bill and the Department, by no later than May 31 of the tax year, shall refund to the taxpayer the amount of tax subject to the homestead exclusion. No refund application shall be required.
(.3) The OPA is authorized to grant exceptions to the deadline provided in subsection (a) upon provision by an owner of real property of evidence of hardship or evidence of other good cause, at its discretion, but in no case shall such an extension be beyond December 1 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due. The OPA shall promulgate such regulations and forms as are deemed necessary to effectuate the purpose of this subsection. The Board of Revision of Taxes is authorized to review any adverse final determination by the OPA relating to an individual's application for an exception in a manner consistent with the provisions for appeal of assessments. Appeals under this subsection shall be limited to whether the OPA abused its discretion in denying the exception to the deadline. 169
(b) The OPA shall provide sufficient notice to the public regarding the availability of applications to designate real property as Homestead Property and all filing deadlines. The OPA shall make applications available at least sixty (60) days before the filing deadline.
(c) An application shall be deemed approved unless the OPA provides, by no later than the date set out below, a written statement setting out all reasons for any denial, in whole or in part, of an application. 170
(.1) For applications timely filed on or before September 13 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due: November 30 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due.
(.2) For applications timely filed, pursuant to subsection (4)(a)(.1) above, after September 13 of the year prior to the year in which the tax is due: January 31 of the year in which the tax is due.
(d) An owner aggrieved by the determination of the OPA hereunder may appeal to the BRT for a review of the determination in a manner consistent with the provisions for appeal of assessments under the applicable assessment law. Appeals under this subsection shall be limited to whether the application meets the requirements of subsection (a) and whether the parcel for which the appeal is made meets the definition of homestead property under subsection (1).
(e) Appeals regarding the assessed value of real property under the applicable assessment law shall be based on the assessed value of the real property before application of the exclusion for homestead property. The issue of qualification as Homestead Property shall not be raised in an appeal except as provided in subsection (d).
(5) Change of use. The owner of any property approved as homestead property shall notify the OPA within 45 days of any change in use that renders the property no longer eligible as homestead property.
(6) False applications; Penalties. Any person who files an application under subsection (4) which is false as to any material matter, or who fails to file notice of change of use pursuant to subsection (5), shall:
(a) Pay any taxes which would have been due but for the false application or failure to provide notice, plus simple interest computed at the rate provided in Section 806 of the Act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 343, No. 176), known as The Fiscal Code;
(b) Pay a penalty equal to ten percent (10%) of the unpaid taxes computed under subsection (a); and
(c) Upon conviction for failing to provide notice pursuant to subsection (5) or filing an application under subsection (3) which a person knows to be fraudulent, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree and be sentenced to pay a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
Added, Bill No. 070203-A (approved January 3, 2008). Section 2 of Bill No. 070203-A provides: "This bill shall be effective upon authorization by the General Assembly." Amended, Bill No. 120175-AA (approved June 30, 2012). Authorized as amended by Act of July 5, 2012, P.L. 1097, No. 131, effective immediately.
Added, Bill No. 190317 (approved June 18, 2019).
Added, Bill No. 140278 (approved August 5, 2014), effective October 1, 2014.
Amended, Bill No. 130298 (approved May 21, 2013).