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Property tax refunds: Don't leave money on the table

As income tax returns are filed this spring, Minnesota taxpayers also have the option of applying for a refund for property taxes paid on homes or rental units. However, a separate form must be filed, in addition to standard income tax returns, in order to apply for the rebate.

Despite the Legislature's best efforts, property taxes across Minnesota continue to rise, which is why it's more important than ever to take advantage of the opportunity to receive a refund on part of your taxes. Although property taxes are not based on a person's income, the refund program is the state's attempt to moderate the amount of property taxes owed relative to total income.

Homeowners may qualify for either the regular property tax refund or the targeted property tax refund if they owned and lived in the home on January 4, 2010. For the regular property tax refund, total household income for 2009 must be less than $98,290, and the maximum available refund is $2,350. The income eligibility limits increase if there are dependents in the household, to $120,190 with five or more dependents. The total refund amount depends on the ratio of a person's household income to total property taxes paid.

The targeted property tax refund is not based on income. Instead, the net property tax on a homestead must have increased by more than 12 percent from 2009 to 2010 - not due to improvements on the home - and the increase must be at least $100. The maximum targeted property tax refund is $1,000.

To receive a renter's property tax refund, total household income for 2009 must be less than $53,030 and the maximum available refund is $1,510. Again, that income limit increases with dependents, up to $74,930 for households with five or more dependents. Renters' refunds are based on a percentage of total rent paid throughout the year, and tenants must obtain a Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) Form from their landlord. Those forms were due to renters by Jan. 31 so if you have not yet received yours, you should check with your landlord.

Seniors and disabled persons living in non-tax-exempt nursing home or health care facilities who are not solely paying for rooms with medical assistance or other supplemental funding also may qualify for renters' refunds. Qualifications for these types of rebates are outlined on the application forms.

To apply for all of these rebates, Minnesotans must file a Form M1PR with the state, as opposed to the county assessor offices where property taxes are paid. This form is separate from regular income tax forms and is available either on the Department of Revenue's Web site or at local libraries and other facilities that distribute tax information.

The due date for 2009 property tax refund applications is August 16, 2010, but applications will be accepted through August 15, 2011. The due date for the 2008 property tax refund was August 17, 2009, but renters and homeowners have until August 16, 2010 to file for a refund on those taxes. Typically, refunds can be expected to be received within 60 to 90 days.

All application forms and additional information are available at or by calling the Department of Revenue at 1-800-652-9094.