Administrative Services FAQ's

Q. What should I know about the property tax refund program?

A. 

The property tax refund program was changed by the 2004 legislature, moving from a program administered by the county treasurers to one administered by the Department of Revenue. The legislature modified the program again in 2005. With these changes came a number of other key modifications. The following paragraphs address to a number of issues that have arisen about this version of the program.

Certificates of deposit held for retirement purposes: If the certificate of deposit (CD) is held in a qualified pension or retirement plan such as an IRA or 401(k) plan, it does NOT count toward the asset limit. However, if the taxpayer has any other CDs, they do count toward the asset limit. That is one of the main reasons the asset limit was raised in 2005.

Proof of amount and payment of taxes: It is important to the Department to receive proof if the amount of the property tax and proof of payment.  Please try to send this information as it could delay the processing of your refund.  If this information is not included with the application, the department will try to retrieve this information from the counties website, if available.  If it is not available then the application will be rejected for this information.

Date for counting assets:  An applicant should determine what assets they have as of December 31st of each year.  Assets include bank accounts, investments, real estate, and vehicles.

Taxable Income:  Income is limited to those items reported on the taxpayer’s or other adult household member’s federal income tax return (Form 1040, 4040A, or 1040EZ).  Thus, federal income tax refunds and earned income credits are not reportable income.

Non taxable income:  If the taxpayer or other adult members of the household are not required to file federal income tax returns:  they should mark the applicable box on the income portion of the application.  They must them attach all documentation of their year-end statements of social security, SSI, railroad retirement, pensions and all other non-taxable payments received.  Income needs to be verified every year, regardless if there have been no changes.

Income limitations:  Total taxable and non-taxable income for all adult members of the household is compared to three fourths (¾) of the greater of the median household income of their county or of the state.  The number of members of the household has no effect on the income limit.

Property considered part of the primary residence: Generally speaking a primary residence is comprised of a house and the land on which it is sited. Further, a garage, whether attached or separated from the house, is part of the residence. Generally, other structures on the property are treated as part of the residence ONLY IF they are minor structures not involved in any business activity. Small tool sheds are an example of this type of structure. On the other hand, major out-buildings, such as barns and shops, which may be associated with income producing activities, are not part of the residence. They are real estate that count toward the asset limit.
Primary residence:  Refunds granted under this program must be the applicant’s primary residence and they must have resided in the home for at least six month’s of the year in order to qualify.

Asset valuation: Value of assets that count toward the limitation is their fair market value.

Submission of social security number:  The applicant does not need to file a form W-9 with the Department to verify their social security number.  However, we require the applicant to provide their social security number on the application.  Accordingly, we urge applicants to read the “Privacy Act Notification” section on the front page of the application.  The refunds are not 1099 reportable as they are considered a public assistance payment directly to the qualifying individual/entity.

Remedies for incomplete or defective applications: If the Department receives an application that is incomplete or otherwise defective, the Property Tax Refund System (the computer system used to service this program) will generate a letter to the applicant explaining the need for further information, addressing the specific deficiencies of that application. The applicant then has fourteen (14) days from the date of the letter to respond. If the applicant does not respond by the end of that period, their application will be denied. (If the additional information the Department needs is something easily resolved by contact with the county treasurer, the Department will do so.)

Residency requirement: The residency requirement is five (5) years. As with the date for the asset inventory, the residency year ends on December 31st. Thus, for applicants in 2005, the current residency year ended December 31, 2004. That means residency must have started no later than July 1, 2000 (since residency means living in Wyoming at least half the year).

Timely payment of property taxes:  The law allows a refund only for property taxes that are paid timely.  The rules define “timely” as paid by application deadline, regardless of interest.  If half the tax is paid timely and the other half is not, only the half that is paid timely is eligible for refund.

Refund granted:  A refund if all qualifications are met is equal to up to half of your property taxes as not to exceed the county’s median property tax amount, calculated annually by the Property Tax Division from information obtained from the statewide CAMA system.