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(1) For the tax year 1996 and each year thereafter taxpayers who meet the standards of eligibility established by this Chapter shall be deemed a separate class of subjects of taxation and, as such, shall be entitled to the benefit of special provisions of this Chapter.
(2) Eligible taxpayers shall be entitled to a refund or forgiveness of real estate taxes which have been paid over to (or would except for the provisions of this Chapter be payable to) the City and School District of Philadelphia for real estate taxes under the provisions of Sections 19-1301 and 19-1801, in accordance with the following provisions:
(a) Low income senior citizen taxpayers shall be entitled to receive refunds or forgiveness of that part of their real estate tax liability attributable to any real estate tax rate increase or an increase in the assessed value of the taxpayer's homestead occurring after the effective date of this Chapter.
(b) In the event that a taxpayer who had previously been eligible to receive refunds or forgiveness of taxes pursuant to this Chapter is no longer eligible by reason of failing to meet the low income requirement provided for herein, the taxpayer shall be billed and shall pay real estate taxes at the then current real estate tax rate and assessed value. If a taxpayer reestablishes eligibility by meeting the low income requirement in subsequent tax years, the amount of real estate taxes that the taxpayer is then eligible to have refunded or forgiven is that part of the real estate tax liability attributable to any real estate tax rate increase or an increase in the assessed value of the taxpayer's homestead occurring no earlier than the calendar year prior to the tax year for which the taxpayer reestablishes eligibility.
(3) If a homestead is owned for only a portion of a year or is owned in part by a person who is not a low income taxpayer, the Department shall apportion the real estate taxes in accordance with the period or portion of ownership of the eligible taxpayer in determining the amount of refund or forgiveness for which a taxpayer is eligible.