(1) The property owner of record or the property owner's agent must make annual application to the local department office, in order to receive the PTAP benefit provided for in 15-6-134, MCA.
(2) The benefit is a reduction in taxable value that applies to the first $100,000 or less of the taxable market value of any improvement on real property, including trailers, manufactured homes, or mobile homes, and appurtenant land not exceeding 5 acres owned or under contract for deed and actually occupied for at least 7 months a year as the primary residential dwelling of one or more qualified applicants. The 7-month occupancy requirement does not apply to an otherwise qualified applicant who lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
(3) For purposes of this benefit, the appurtenant land not exceeding 5 acres 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 primary residence is located, unless the primary residence is a mobile home or manufactured home that is assessed separately from the land. In which case, the benefit will apply to the land upon which the primary residence is located only if the land and the mobile home are owned by the applicant.
(4) An application must be filed, on or before April 15 of the year for which the benefit is sought, on a form available from the local department office. Applications postmarked after April 15 will be considered for the following tax year.
(5) The department may waive the April 15 deadline if the applicant:
(a) participated in the program in the prior year;
(b) was unable to apply for the current year due to hospitalization, physical illness, infirmity, or mental illness, and can demonstrate:
(i) one or more of the impediments, while not necessarily continuous, existed at sufficient levels between January 1 and April 15 of the tax year in which the applicant is applying, that prevented timely filing of the application; or
(ii) confusion caused by the infirmity may have prevented timely filing of the application.
(6) The department may waive the April 15 deadline on a case-by-case basis, if the applicant:
(a) qualified for the program in the prior year; and
(b) submits a written statement, plus any documents explaining any circumstances not identified in (5) that prevented timely filing of the application.
(7) The department may waive the April 15 deadline on a case-by-case basis if the applicant:
(a) did not previously participate in the PTAP;
(b) meets the requirements of (5) or (6); and
(c) provides a completed application that is submitted or postmarked no later than July 1 of the year for which benefit is sought.
(8) Willful misrepresentation of facts pertaining to income or the impediments that prevent timely application filing will result in the automatic rejection of the application.
(9) The applicant is required to list total household income from all sources, excluding losses, depletion, and depreciation. Total household income includes the income that is attributable to all owner occupants who occupied the property as their primary residence 7 months of the preceding calendar year.
(10) Total household 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.
(11) The department requires specific documentation if the applicant:
(a) files an income tax return, a copy of the Montana state income tax return must be attached to the application;
(b) qualifies for an extension of time to file their income tax return, the applicant must indicate this on the application and, no later than October 25, provide a copy of their completed income tax return for the tax year immediately preceding the year of the application; or
(c) is not required to file an income tax return, they must complete the appropriate portion of the application and submit documentation, that identifies the reported income, as defined in (9). Examples of acceptable documentation include, but are not limited to:
(i) social security statements;
(ii) pension statements; or
(iii) bank statements.
(12) 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 7 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.
(13) The PTAP benefit is not available when a qualified applicant purchases a dwelling after the application deadline for the tax year in which the application is submitted. In this situation, the department will consider the application for the following year.
(14) The PTAP benefit is not available when a qualified applicant sells the dwelling. The tax benefit does not transfer to the new owner and the new owner is responsible for the proration of the taxes from the date of sale.