Eligible New Hampshire homeowners have until June 30 to submit applications for a property tax rebate available through the state’s Low- and Moderate-Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief Program. Under current law, individuals with incomes of less than $20,000 and married couples with incomes below $40,000 who own a home in New Hampshire are eligible for a rebate of a portion of the statewide education property tax they pay. The precise amount of the rebate varies depending on one’s income and on one’s city or town of residence, but, in recent years, the average rebate paid has hovered just below $200. Eligible homeowners must apply to the Department of Revenue between May 1 and June 30 each year to receive a rebate.
Due in part to changes in the statewide education property tax, the number of taxpayers receiving rebates has declined sharply in recent years, falling from close to 24,000 in 2002 to just under 11,700 in 2012. The total amount of rebates paid out by the program has dropped markedly as well, shrinking from $7.7 million in 2002 to $2.3 million in 2012.
There are a number of different ways the Low- and Moderate-Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief Program can be made more meaningful to New Hampshire families, including:
- Improving public awareness of the program
- Increasing income eligibility thresholds to make up for inflation
- Making renters eligible for the program
- Increasing the value of the rebate by changing the way it is calculated (e.g. to include all property taxes)
- Replacing the program with a different type of program, known as a “circuit breaker,” that seeks to limit the share of one’s income devoted to property taxes