Auditor Vicki Urbanik has announced that she has returned more than $246,500
to the county’s General Fund through the auditor’s homestead compliance
The money comes
from back taxes paid by taxpayers who improperly claimed and received the
homestead tax deduction.
State law allows
County Auditors to investigate homestead compliance and to collect up to
three years of back taxes and penalties.
In the past, county
auditors were allowed to keep homestead revenues for their own office use.
That changed in 2013, when Indiana lawmakers passed S.B. 517, which requires
that auditors return to their county’s general fund any homestead revenues
collected each year in excess of $100,000 net of contractual costs related
to homestead investigations.
the revenue received and the contractual costs in 2015, Urbanik authorized
deposits to the county’s general fund totaling $246,553.54. Urbanik said her
office was able to return such a sizable amount to the general fund due in
part to the efforts made in the past year to reduce the use of outside
contractors and to handle most of the homestead work in-house.
Indiana’s homestead deduction can provide a substantial tax break to
homeowners, in some cases cutting tax bills in half. “This makes the
homestead deduction one of the most desired tax benefits offered in
Indiana,” she said.
improperly claim the homestead deduction shift the tax burden to other
taxpayers. “That’s why it is so important to make sure taxpayers do not
receive a tax benefit if they are not eligible for it,” Urbanik said. “At
the same time, our office is committed to helping taxpayers understand the
tax benefits that they can, legally, claim.”
Auditor’s office employees for their diligent efforts investigating
homestead deductions, both current deductions as well as new applications,
to ensure compliance before the deductions are applied.