Tax refund program in Pa. is free, so don't pay anyone to help, state says

Pennsylvanians looking to get in on the state's tax rebate don't need to pay money to learn about the program, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said.

Corbett's warning was prompted by complaints about mailers offering to help consumers file for the program -- for a fee. It's the second time this year the state has cautioned consumers about this scam -- a similar set of mailers were circulated in March. This time they appear to be linked to the program's deadline of Dec. 31, he said.

"Homeowners across the state are continuing to report unsolicited mailings to our office that ask seniors or disabled residents to pay a fee in order to receive assistance in filing a property tax or rent rebate claim," Corbett said. "Those letters do not disclose that seniors can apply for rebates directly with the Commonwealth, for free, or that forms and assistance are readily available."

Pennsylvania has a tax/rent rebate program for those at least age 65; widows or widowers at least age 50; and disabled people age 18 or older who meet the program's income requirements. Forms and information about the program are available from the Department of Revenue's site or call (888) 222-9190.

Other states, including Minnesota and New Hampshire, also have tax rebate programs designed to ease the property tax burden, based on income eligibility.