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Homestead Credit

2017 Update on the Homestead Tax Credit and Wisconsin Renter’s and Homeowner’s School Property Tax Credit

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Dave Launder of Baker and Launder

For renters in Wisconsin, it may feel like old St. Nick is making the rounds again, as you have a chance to get a tax credit thanks to the State of Wisconsin’s Renter’s and Homeowner’s School Property Tax Credit and the Homestead Tax Credit. This post includes a 2017 update!

If you’re new to renting or this is the first time hearing about the programs, this post includes information on both programs, including:

2017 UPDATE: No changes (again)!

Once again, Dave Launder of Baker & Launder has informed us that there are no changes to the available Renter’s and Homestead Tax Credits or the Wisconsin School Property Tax Credit.

“The Homestead tax credit appears to be in a holding pattern. The maximum income limit to qualify for the credit remains at $24,680 for 2017, while the max credit stays at $1,168. This makes the sixth consecutive year of status quo,” Launder said.

Renters can receive both credits, provided they fit within the income criteria.

According to Accountant Dave Launder of Baker and Launder, “Everyone is entitled to the Renter’s and Homeowner’s School Property Tax Credit, regardless of income. The Homestead Tax Credit is available to anyone who earned less than $24,680 in 2017.”

Launder reports no significant changes in the tax credits for the 2017 tax year. “The income amounts did not change at all, and the maximum credit is exactly the same,” he said.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the two credits:

What is the Renter’s and Homeowner’s School Property Tax Credit (Renter’s Credit)?

Most people lose track of this tax credit, and focus only on the Homestead. They shouldn’t. You can claim the renter’s credit if you paid rent during 2017 for living quarters that you used as your primary residence. The Renter’s Credit is a maximum of $300, and it’s based on the amount of rent paid.

What is the Homestead Tax Credit?

The Homestead Tax Credit was created to provide tax relief to renters below a certain income threshold. Basically, the lower your income, and the more rent you pay, the bigger your credit will be.

Before we get into the details, here’s a brief overview video from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92dcR8lmh6o

The maximum credit for Homestead is $1,168, and it also includes a 4-year statute of limitations. That means if you’ve been renting for the last four years and never claimed the credit, you should get the prior year’s rent certificates completed, and then file a Homestead Credit Form (Schedule H) by itself for that particular year. It doesn’t have to go with their return.

Curious if you qualify? Get ready – here are the requirements, straight from the State of Wisconsin’s website:

Note: You need not be a homeowner to qualify. Renters as well as persons who reside in mobile or manufactured homes or nursing homes that are subject to property taxes may also qualify to file a claim.

How do I claim the credits?

First, you’ll need to fill out this Renter’s Certificate. You’ll need to fill in all fields in the renter (claimant) section except your social security number and then submit it to your landlord.

You’ll also need to inform your landlord if you’re married and living with your spouse. After your landlord returns the completed rent certificate, enter your social security number.

Next, to claim the Renter’s Credit on Form 1, refer to page 32-33 of this Form 1 instruction PDF to determine your rent credit.

For the Homestead Credit, you’ll need to include the rent certificate with Schedule H or H-EZ. For more specific information on which form you should use, refer to the State of Wisconsin’s webpage.

What is included in the total rent amount on the rent certificate?

The total rent amount paid includes all rent, water and parking payments made to your landlord by all occupants. If heat is included in your rent, you’ll receive a lower credit. If you pay your own heat, expect a higher credit. Your landlord should have this information.

One last note: We’ve heard unfortunate tales of renters who claim their landlords didn’t know anything about these credits. Believe us, if you own property in Wisconsin, you should be aware of the credits. Every landlord should be willing to fill in the renter’s certificate.

Are you a Steve Brown Apartments resident?

For the Steve Brown Apartments residents who may be reading this, we’ve tried to make this process as easy as possible. For those of you who qualify for the State of Wisconsin Homestead Credit, we will need to complete a Rent Certificate for you.

To find out if you qualify for the Homestead Credit visit the Wisconsin Department of Revenue web site. The Homestead Credit program was designed to soften the impact of property taxes and rent on persons with lower incomes. We have Rent Certificate forms available at our office or you can download one on this web page.

You will need to fill in all fields in the renter (claimant) section except your social security number before submitting it to us to complete. Please inform us if you are living with your spouse. The total rent amount paid includes all rent, water and parking payments made to us by all occupants.

Please allow at least 24 hours for processing the Rent Certificate. If you would like your Rent Certificate mailed to you please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. You may also pick the form up at the Steve Brown Apartments office at 120 West Gorham, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

This website is an educational resource only. For specific tax questions, seek professional tax assistance or contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at (608)266-2486.

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Published on Jan 05 2018

Last Updated on Oct 07 2022