(1) The property owner of record or the property owner's agent must make annual application through the local department office, in order to receive the benefit provided for in 15-6-134, MCA. An application must be filed on a form available from the local department office on or before April 15 of the year for which the benefit is sought. Applications postmarked after April 15 will not be considered for that year unless:
(a) the applicant was unable to apply for the current year due to hospitalization, physical illness, infirmity, or mental illness;
(b) the taxpayer can demonstrate the impediments listed above, while not necessarily continuous, existed at sufficient levels in the period of January 1 to April 15 to prevent timely filing of the reporting form. The department may waive this requirement, on a case-by-case basis, and upon receipt of a written statement, plus any documentation explaining circumstances where:
(i) an applicant who participated in the program in the prior year, would meet income requirements in the current year; and
(ii) confusion due to infirmity may have arisen; and
(c) The department may waive this requirement on a case-by-case basis, if:
(i) the applicant qualified for the program in the prior year; and
(ii) upon receipt of a written statement, plus any documents explaining the circumstances of why the applicant failed to meet the deadline.
(2) The department may accept and process the application and proof of income if submitted or postmarked no later than July 1 of the year for which benefit is sought. Willful misrepresentation of facts pertaining to income or the impediments that prevent timely application filing will result in the automatic rejection of the application.
(3) The applicant is required to list total household income from all sources, excluding losses, depletion, and depreciation, that is attributable to all owner occupants who are applying for the assistance. Total household income includes, but is not limited to income of all other owners of the property.
(4) Income includes, but is not limited to:
(a) wages, salaries, and tips;
(b) taxable interest;
(c) ordinary and qualified dividends;
(d) alimony received;
(e) capital gains;
(f) other gains;
(g) taxable refunds, credits, or offsets of state and local income taxes;
(h) business and/or farm income excluding losses, depreciation, and depletion;
(i) taxable amounts of IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities;
(j) rent, royalty, partnership, S corporation, and trust income before subtracting losses, depletion, or depreciation;
(k) unemployment compensation;
(l) taxable amounts of social security benefits; and
(m) other income reported or reportable on the tax return or returns required by Title 15, chapter 30 or 31 of the Montana Code Annotated.
(5) If the applicant is required to file an income tax return, a copy of the income tax return must be attached.
(6) If the applicant has applied for an extension of time to file the applicant's income tax return, the applicant must provide a completed individual estimated income tax worksheet (ESW) for the tax year immediately preceding the year of the application.
(7) If the applicant is not required to file an income tax return, they must complete the appropriate portion of the application and submit documentation, that supports the reported income, as defined in (3). Examples of the required documentation include, but are not limited to, social security statements, pension statements, or bank statements.
(8) 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. A decision to deny such an application due to the inability to provide sufficient information will be forwarded to and reviewed by an area manager or regional manager.
(9) The department will advise the applicant of its decision in writing. The date the taxpayer receives the department's determination shall be calculated by adding seven days to the date on the determination letter. An applicant aggrieved by the department's determination may appeal the determination to the State Tax Appeal Board within 30 days of receipt as defined in this section.
(10) Any reduction in taxable value will apply to the first $100,000 or less of the taxable market value of any mobile home or improvement on real property and appurtenant land not exceeding five acres.
(11) For purposes of this benefit, the land beneath and immediately adjacent to the residence shall not include any separately described or assessed parcels of land, regardless of whether the parcel is contiguous with or adjacent to the parcel upon which the qualified residence is located. In those cases in which the qualified residence is a mobile home that is assessed separately from the land, the benefit will apply to the land upon which the qualified residence is located only if the land and the mobile home are owned by the applicant.