FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A property tax credit worth hundreds of dollars will increase this year after Arkansas’ legislature passed through the change.
The homestead property tax credit was worth $350 for qualifying property owners. In 2020, the number has increased to $375 after state lawmakers noted a significant surplus in the property tax relief trust fund, said Scott Hardin, Arkansas’ Dept. of Finance & Administration spokesperson.
The surplus also allowed for 21 counties to get election equipment upgrades, Hardin said. An $8.2 million figure was transferred from the trust fund to those counties, including Madison Co. in Northwest Arkansas. The fund was created in 2000 by increasing sales’ tax by half a cent, Hardin said.
“Hopefully, as we enter this November election coming up later this year, that money will go toward voting safety and improvements,” Hardin said. “Based on the number of people, say Washington or Benton County, the number of people that claim that credit, we then reimburse the county, because that is county money.”
For property owners, the increased credit applies to the “homestead”, which is the dwelling of a person used as his or her main residence. Arkansans can only claim one one homestead tax credit per year, Hardin said.
Mark Foster is the educational director for Credit Counseling of Arkansas, and he said most people are unaware of the credit.
“Perhaps the biggest thing out of this can be just the increased awareness that this is even available,” Foster said.
Foster said the $25 increase for those who’ve already obtained the credit may seem like a small bonus, but for those who aren’t aware of its existence, the circulation of the information is great.
“People who are currently unaware of it will go from zero to $375, and that is a significant increase for those folks,” Foster said.
To apply for the tax credit, Arkansans are encouraged to contact their respective county assessor’s office. More information can be found here.