The Mountain Times

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Homestead declarations to be filed annually beginning in 2013

Beginning in 2013, annual filing of homestead declarations will be required once again, the Vermont Department of Taxes stated in a release Jan. 31. All eligible property owners must file homestead declarations by the due date for filing Vermont income tax returns, which is April 15 for this year.

This is a change to the law. Previously, property owners had to declare their homestead once unless there was a change in ownership or status of the property. In Vermont, all property is subject to education property tax. Property is considered "nonresidential" until it is claimed as the owner's "homestead." A property owner must file a homestead declaration if the owner: 1) owns and occupies the property as his or her primary residence and 2) is domiciled in Vermont.

"Filing your homestead declaration is critical to paying the correct amount of tax," said Mary Peterson, commissioner of taxes. "Therefore, the Department of Taxes is making every effort to inform property owners about the change in the law, so that they will file their homestead declarations by the deadline, April 15."

Owners of homestead property acquired as of April 1 must file by the April 15 deadline. Late filing will be accepted through Oct. 15 of each year, but a late filing penalty will apply. For those seeking a property tax adjustment, a homestead declaration must be filed in order to file for the adjustment.

To file a homestead declaration, the Vermont Department of Taxes encourages electronic filing as it is fast and convenient, but property owners also may file by submitting Vermont form HS-122 by mail or in person. Both electronic filing and form HS-122 may be found online at the Department of Taxes website, www.tax.vermont.gov.

To file, residents need their School Property Account Number (SPAN) printed on the property tax bill, the property owner's social security number, and the code of the Vermont school district in which the property is located. The school code usually can be found on the property tax bill, but it is also available on the Department of Taxes website.

For more information on the homestead declaration, visit www.tax.vermont.gov or contact the Vermont Department of Taxes at (802) 828-2865 or (866) 828-2865 (toll-free in Vermont).