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Rent Reimbursement and Property Tax Credit for Iowans Who Are Elderly or Disabled

January 27, 2012
By Fred Nelson* , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Each year, Iowans who are elderly or disabled may be able to benefit from:

A Property Tax Credit on their home; and

Rent Reimbursement on apartment or mobile home lot rent.

To be eligible for these programs, you must:

Have household income during 2011 of less than $20,906; and

Be at least 65 years old OR disabled and at least 18 years old.

Also, Iowans over 23 years old with income less than $20,906 may also benefit from reduced taxes on a mobile, manufactured or modular home in a manufactured home community or mobile home park.

Remember, you must apply each year for these programs!

The Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance sets the formula for the credit or reimbursement. Property tax credit, rent reimbursement, or tax reduction programs are based on your 2011 household income. Household income includes:

social security;


pension; and

interest income.

If you get a rent subsidy, the amount of your subsidy also counts as income. If you earn income from a business, only the net profit from the business is included.

What "property" in which a person lives can qualify?

The credit or reimbursement may only be used for your homestead. Your homestead is the dwelling you owned or rented as your home during 2011. If you own a mobile home and live in it on a rented lot, you may apply for both rent reimbursement for the lot rent and a reduced tax rate on your mobile home. If you live in a mobile home on your own property, you may apply for a property tax credit. If you live in an apartment, the building must be subject to property tax. Apartments owned by non-profits (like a church) or government entities (like a city, county or state) do not generally pay property taxes. If you are not sure whether your apartment pays property taxes, ask your landlord or county treasurer.

In some cases, residents of a nursing home may also be eligible for rent reimbursement or a property tax credit. If you are in a nursing home but still own and maintain your homestead, you can apply for the property tax credit. If you live in a nursing home and no longer own a home, you may be eligible for rent reimbursement. To apply for rent reimbursement, you will need to find out from the nursing home how much of your total payment is for rent.

When and How to Apply

Although deadlines are sometimes extended, you should apply between January 1 and June 1 of 2012 to get a rent reimbursement for 2011 or property tax credit or reduced tax rate for 2012. To get the form to apply for rent reimbursement, call the Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance at 1-800-367-3388. Contact your county treasurer for the property tax credit or reduced tax rate forms.

You can find the forms and how to apply for all these programs on the Iowa Department of Revenue website. Go to

The Legal Hotline for Older Iowans at 1-800-992-8161 also has the forms you need to apply and can answer questions.

*Fred Nelson is a staff attorney with Iowa Legal Aid's Legal Hotline for Older Iowans.



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