Iowa

Rent Reimbursement and Property Tax Credits

Authored By: Legal Hotline for Older Iowans LSC Funded

Rent Reimbursement and Property Tax Credits for Iowans who are Elderly or Have a Disability

Each year, Iowans who are elderly or have a disability may be able to benefit from:

  • A Property Tax Credit on their home; and

  • ·Rent Reimbursement on apartment or mobile home lot rent.

To be eligible for these programs in 2016, you must:

  • Have household income during 2015 of less than $22,360; and 

  • In 2015 be at least 65 years old OR at least 18 years old and have a disability.

Iowans over 23 years old with income less than $22,260 may also benefit from reduced taxes on a mobile, manufactured or modular home in a manufactured home community or mobile home park.

Remember, you must apply each year for these programs!

The Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance sets the formula for the credit or reimbursement. Property tax credit, rent reimbursement, or tax reduction programs are based on your 2015 household income. Household income includes:

  • social security; 

  • wages;

  • pension; 

  • interest income.

  • money received from others

If you get a rent subsidy, the amount of your subsidy also counts as income. If you earn income from a business, only the net profit from the business is included.

What “property” can qualify?

The credit or reimbursement may only be used for your homestead. Your homestead is the dwelling you owned or rented as your home during 2015.

  • If you own a mobile home and live in it on a rented lot, you may apply for both rent reimbursement for the lot rent and a reduced tax rate on your mobile home.

  • If you live in a mobile home on your own property, you may apply for a property tax credit.

  • If you live in an apartment, the building must be subject to property tax. Apartments owned by non-profits (like a church) or government entities (like a city, county or state) do not generally pay property taxes.

  • If you are not sure whether your apartment pays property taxes, ask your landlord or county treasurer.

In some cases, residents of a nursing home may also be eligible for rent reimbursement or a property tax credit.

  • If you are in a nursing home but still own and maintain your homestead, you can apply for the property tax credit. 

  • If you live in a nursing home and no longer own a home, you may be eligible for rent reimbursement.

  • To apply for rent reimbursement, you will need to find out from the nursing home how much of your total payment is for rent.

When and How to Apply

Although deadlines are sometimes extended, you should apply between January 1 and June 1 of 2016 to get a rent reimbursement for 2015 or property tax credit or reduced tax rate for 2016.

Rent reimbursement is money that will be sent directly to you.  The property tax credit will show up as reduced property taxes for next year.  If you have a mortgage on your home this could mean a reduction in your future monthly payments if they include an amount to pay your property taxes.  

  • To get the form to apply for rent reimbursement, call the Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance at 1-800-367-3388 and press 5 to talk to a representative.

  • In recent years forms for rent reimbursement are automatically sent out by the Department of Revenue to people who have previously been receiving rent reimbursement benefits.

  • Contact your county treasurer for the property tax credit or mobile home reduced tax rate. 

  • You can find the forms and how to apply for all these programs on the Iowa Department of Revenue website. Go to  https://tax.iowa.gov

Appeal Rights

If you are denied benefits or the amount of your claim is reduced, you have appeal rights. You have 30 days from the date of the notice to appeal to the Director of the Department of Revenue.  A hearing is scheduled with the decision from the hearing mailed to you.  If you disagree with the decision, you have a right to judicial review.  An appeal to the Department of Revenue for a tax claim is a complicated process.  Call Iowa Legal Aid for possible assistance with your appeal: 1-800-532-1275.  The Legal Hotline for Older Iowans at 1-800-992-8161 also has the forms you need to apply and can answer questions.

  • Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 
  • To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:call 800-532-1275. 
  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or 
  • apply online at iowalegalaid.org
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website iowabar.org.   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice. 
Last Review and Update: Jan 29, 2016