Duncan: Little known tax refunds for low-income seniors in Sun City

Jim Graff, AARP Tax-Aide coordinator for Sun City, instructs volunteers on new tax rules ahead of the tax filing season.
Jim Graff, AARP Tax-Aide coordinator for Sun City, instructs volunteers on new tax rules ahead of the tax filing season.
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The Mission of the Sun City Community Assistance Network is to, “Connect people with resources to enhance their standard of living.”

In other words, Sun City CAN helps people save money on things like property taxes, income taxes, utilities, Medicare premiums, prescription drugs and other things.

Many benefits go unclaimed simply because people are unaware that the benefits exist. In an effort to shed light on some of the help that is available to low-income seniors, I will write a guest commentary each month about a different senior help program.

Below is a listing of two refunds available for low-income seniors that some may not realize are available.

Property tax

The Arizona Property Tax Credit is a state program that provides a refundable credit based on the amount of property tax paid during the calendar year.

It is available to qualifying low-income seniors (age 65 or older) and those under 65 who receive Social Security Income. The maximum refund is $502 per year. A graduated schedule is used to determine the actual refund amount. Renters can also participate by having their landlord complete a Department of Revenue Form 201 disclosing the percentage of rent that covers property tax paid on the rental unit.

For a person living alone, the maximum annual income, over and above Social Security, is $3,751 and for households with more than one person the maximum amount, over and above Social Security, is $5,501 (combining the income for everyone in the household). Again, neither Social Security, the Social Security equivalent of railroad retirement nor veteran’s disability count when determining the maximum annual income of $3,751 or $5,501. You must be an Arizona resident for the entire year.  Form PTC-140 must be filed by April 15.

How do you claim the Arizona Property Tax Credit?

Sun City Community Assistance Network helps people file for these refunds on Fridays during tax season (Feb. 1-April 15).  Last year we helped more than 500 people! Appointments are available by calling 623-234-4964 9 a.m.-noon after or by visiting the CAN office, 10195 W. Coggins Drive, Sun City.

Excise tax

The Arizona Increased Excise Tax Refund is a program available to lower income Arizona residents.

Eligible applicants receive a check for $25 for individuals, $50 for a married couple and up to $100 for filers with dependents. Eligibility is based on federal adjusted gross income — $12,500 for single filers and $25,000 for joint filers.  You need to be an Arizona resident by year’s end for this refund.

How do you claim the Increased Excise Tax Refund?

If you are eligible for the Increased Excise Tax Refund ($25-$100) but not eligible for the Arizona Property Tax Credit, you can get helped on a Wednesday or a Thursday during tax season. Appointments are available by calling 623-234-4964 9 a.m.-noon after or by visiting the CAN office, 10195 W. Coggins Drive, Sun City.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Duncan is Sun City Community Assistance Network board president.

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