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(1) The property owner of record or the property owner's agent must make application through the local department office, in order to receive the benefit provided for in 15-6-134 , MCA. An application must be made on a form available from the local county appraisal/assessment office before March 15 of the year for which the benefit is sought. Applications postmarked after March 15 will not be considered for that tax year unless the department determines the applicant was unable to apply for the current year due to hospitalization, physical illness, infirmity, or mental illness. These impediments must be demonstrated to have existed at significant levels from January 1 of the current year to the time of application. Telephone extensions and written extensions will be granted through July 1 of the current year for the above-listed reasons. Willful misrepresentation of facts pertaining to income or the impediments that prevent timely application filing will result in the automatic rejection of the application.

(2) The department will review the application and any supporting documents. The department may review income tax records to determine accuracy of information. The department will approve or deny the application. The applicant will be advised in writing of the decision. An annual statement of eligibility is required unless a review of income tax records or other records related to the applicant's income demonstrates that the individual had no significant change in income level and successfully qualified during the preceding 12 months prior to January 1 of the current tax year. In that situation, the department may waive the annual statement of eligibility required.

(3) Any reduction in taxable value will apply to the first $100,000 or less of the market value of any mobile home or improvement on real property and appurtenant land not exceeding five acres.

(4) The applicant is required to list total income from all sources, including otherwise tax-exempt income of all types. That income includes, but is not limited to, employment income, gross business income less ordinary operating expenses but before deducting depreciation or depletion allowance, social security, railroad pension, teachers' pension, employment pension, veterans' pension, any other pension, alimony, disability income, unemployment benefits, welfare payments, aid to dependent children, rentals, interest from investments, stock/bond interest or dividends, interest from banks and any other income, but not including social security income paid directly to a nursing home, food stamps or direct utility payments paid by the energy share program.

(5) Gross business income less ordinary operating expenses but before deducting depreciation or depletion allowance is reported on schedule C, or schedule F, of the federal income tax return. The application will require a copy of the appropriate form be attached.

History: 15-1-201, MCA; IMP, 15-6-134, 15-6-191, MCA; NEW, 1988 MAR p. 734, Eff. 4/15/88; AMD, 1991 MAR p. 2041, Eff. 11/1/91; AMD, 1993 MAR p. 2967, Eff. 12/10/93; AMD, 1996 MAR p. 1171, Eff. 4/26/96; AMD, 2004 MAR p. 490, Eff. 2/27/04; AMD, 2006 MAR p. 3102, Eff. 12/22/06.

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