1. I’m new to Hampden Township. What taxes will I be required to pay?
There are three (3) different taxes charged in Hampden Township that are collected by the Office of the Hampden Township Tax Collector:
1. Per Capita (personal) tax.
2. Real Estate (property) tax – County
3. Real Estate (property) tax – School
Other taxes that are related to a person’s wages (e.g., Earned Income Tax (EIT @1.6%) and the Local Services Tax (LST @$52) are administered by the Cumberland County Tax Bureau (CCTB) formerly the West Shore Tax Bureau. Questions concerning these taxes should be addressed to CCTB at 717-590-7997.
2. What is the Per Capita tax?
The Per Capita tax is a personal tax that is due from any township resident over the age of 18. It is due regardless of employment, retirement or disability.
3. When is the Per Capita tax due and how much is it?
The Per Capita tax bill is normally mailed by March 1 of each year. It is due at the following amounts for the respective time periods shown:
Discount 2% March 1 – April 30 9.80
Face May 1 – June 30 10.00
Penalty (10%) July 1 – Mid-December 11.00
Occasionally, an “interim” Per Capita bill will be issued to a new resident who recently moved into the township. These bills will follow the general timeframe shown above as the first 60 days at the 2% Discount, the second 60 days at Face and thereafter at the 10% Penalty amount.
If a resident does not receive a per capita tax bill, he/she should contact the Hampden Township Tax Collector at 717-737-4822 to ascertain if a bill was generated in their name. If no bill was issued, the resident should inform the Township Tax Collector accordingly.
4. What is the difference between the County Real Estate Tax and the School Real Estate Tax?
Real Estate taxes are assessed on property; i.e., land and improvements. Separate real estate bills are issued by Cumberland County and the Cumberland Valley School District. The County bills are normally issued each March 1 of the current year and pertain to that calendar year period of January 1 to December 31. The School bills are normally issued on July 1 of each year and pertain to the fiscal year from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
The bills follow the same general rule as referenced for the Per Capita tax:
Discount 2% March 1 – April 30
Face May 1 – June 30
Penalty (10%) July 1 – Mid-December
Discount 2% July 1 – August 30
Face September 1 – October 30
Penalty (10%) November 1 – Mid-December
When paying their school real estate bill, residents have the additional option of paying in 3 Installments. However, in doing so, the resident gives up the 2% Discount since the total of the 3 installments equal the Face amount of the Bill. In addition, the resident must be careful in using this option because the first payment must be made by August 31 and the remaining two by September 30 and October 31, respectively. If the August 31 deadline is not met, then the Installment Option cannot be used. If the resident is late for either of the two Remaining Installments, then a penalty fee of 10% must be paid.
The County Real Estate bill is actually three (3) bills in one. It is comprised of separate charges for the county, library and municipality (Hampden Township). Each of these charges is determined by applying the respective entity’s millage rate against the property’s assessed value.
The School Real Estate tax bill is a single tax from the school district determined in the same manner by applying the millage rate against the property’s assessed value.
5. What is a mill?
A mill is equivalent to one tenth of a cent or as a decimal = 0.001.
6. What are the millage rates for each of the Real Estate Taxes?
|Millage rates for||Millage rates for|
|2014, 2015, 2016||2017 and 2018|
|Cumberland County||2.195 mills||2.195 mills|
|County Library||.143 mills||.166 mills|
|Hampden Township||.156 mills||.156 mills|
|Total||2.494 mills||2.517 mills|
Millage rate for FY 2016-2017:
Cumberland Valley School District 9.284 mills
Millage rate for FY 2017 – 2018:
Cumberland Valley School District 9.516 mills
At the above millage rates, the county real estate (CY 2018) and school real estate (FY 2017/2018) taxes for a property with an assessed value of $100,000 would be $251.70 and $951.60 respectively.
7. What is the assessed value?
The assessed value is the value of a parcel of land and its improvement as determined by the county. Any questions pertaining to a property’s assessed value should be directed to the Cumberland County Assessment Office at 717-240-6350.
8. What is an “add or interim” Real Estate bill?
An add or interim real estate bill is a special bill issued for newly constructed properties. Since it is a new building, the property deed has not yet been recorded and is therefore not on the tax rolls when the current year’s taxes are issued (March 1 for the County or July 1 for the School). After the new deed has been recorded and an assessed value is established for the house, a special bill is issued for the number of months remaining in the tax year. This bill is usually for the value of the new construction only, but can also include an increase or decrease in land value. As with regular bills, these bills have a 60-day discount period (2%), and a 60-day Face period before it goes into the (10%) Penalty. The bills can be confusing because quite often it looks like a double taxation has occurred when, in fact, a previous bill was issued for the original land value only.
Normally these interim bills will not be paid by your mortgage company because there is not enough money in your escrow account to cover this expense. Beginning at the time of settlement, a property owner may be paying into an escrow account in anticipation of next year’s tax bill; whereas, this bill is a current year bill. If the property owner forwards this bill to his/her mortgage company for payment, it is the owner’s responsibility to follow-up with that company to be sure the bill was paid. Our experience has been that not only do the bills NOT get paid but also the owner is NOT advised of the non-payment by the mortgage company. The owner learns of the unpaid bill only when a late notice at the penalty amount is sent by this office months later.
9. Is there a preferred way that a resident should pay his/her tax bill?
Residents may choose to pay their tax bill either by coming directly to the tax office located in the township municipal building or by mailing his/her tax payment to the office. If paying in person, please note the hours the tax office is open to the public. These hours are shown on each of the tax bills. When visiting the office to make payment, the resident should bring all copies of the bill so that the appropriate copy can be stamped/receipted accordingly.
If a resident decides to mail his/her payment into the tax office, be sure to include the tax collector copy of the bill along with a check for the proper amount (discount, face or penalty) depending on the date the payment is made. For current year bills, this office will accept postmark as the date of payment. For example, if a discount amount is due by April 30 but received on May 1, the discount amount will be accepted since the envelope will have an April 30th postmark.
Taxpayers who mail their payments and desire a receipt must provide both the taxpayer and tax collector sections of the bill along with their check and a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE). Failure to provide the SASE will result in no receipt being issued.
Residents most often need a real estate tax receipt if they are applying for a rebate under the Pennsylvania Property Tax Rebate Program (see question # 10). Residents interested in tax receipts for income tax purposes whose bills are paid by their mortgage company should receive a statement from their mortgage company stating the amount of taxes paid. If a resident does not receive such a statement, he/she should contact his/her mortgage company for this statement.
Many taxpayers have their real estate taxes paid by their mortgage company. If a taxpayer desires to find out if his/her mortgage company did in fact pay the taxes, the taxpayer may contact the Tax Collector’s office either by phone or e-mail to obtain this information. The taxpayer is cautioned to wait till the very end of the discount period or the beginning of the face period before inquiring. This is due to the fact that most mortgage companies wait until the very end of the discount period before making their payment.
All too frequently, taxpayers will pay their real estate tax even though they have an escrow arrangement with their mortgage company. In this case, if a payment for the same bill is subsequently received from their mortgage company, a refund will be made to whichever party made the second and/or duplicate payment. Depending upon the volume of activity experienced by the tax office at this time, such refund(s) could take several weeks.
There is an increasing trend by taxpayers to pay his/her tax bill (Real Estate and/or Per Capita Tax Bill) through a bill payer service offered by his/her bank or credit union. If this service is used, it is imperative that the taxpayer provide information on the check to identify the bill being paid. This can be done by listing the property parcel number (which for Hampden Township starts with 10-) or the bill number itself. All too frequently, taxpayers will send a payment using the bill payer service without giving reference to the bill being paid. In this case, the check is returned to the taxpayer for identifying information. Many times, the taxpayer will either lose the discount or even incur a penalty for the resulting delay in payment.
10. Are there any other real estate discounts or rebates available to residents besides the 2% for payment within the first 60 days of a bill’s issuance?
Yes, there are 2 separate programs available to residents. One is the Pennsylvania Homestead Credit established under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006 and the other is the Pennsylvania Property Tax or Rent Rebate Program.
The Homestead Credit is funded by gaming revenues generated by licensed casinos throughout the state. This credit is given to Pennsylvanians based upon their permanent primary residence for which property taxes were paid. A resident must provide his/her name to the county assessor (717-240-6365) in order to be named on the credit records. The credit is given on the taxpayer’s school real estate bill only and the amount of the credit varies by school district. For 2017, the Homestead Credit for each Hampden Township resident recorded by the county assessor’s office was $56.18. This credit is shown on the bottom-most portion of the school real estate tax bill as Homestead Credit. Most of Hampden Township’s residents already receive this credit. It is suggested that a taxpayer first check their last school real estate bill for this credit before calling either the Township Tax Collector or the County Assessor’s Office.
The Pennsylvania Property Tax or Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older and people with disabilities age 18 and older. In order to qualify for this rebate, applicants must also meet certain income eligibility requirements. Since this is a State Program funded by Lottery Revenues, more information may be obtained by contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 1-888-222-9190. The deadline to apply for this rebate is June 30 of each year. However, this deadline has been extended to December 31 since the program’s inception. Whether or not this deadline will be extended in future years is unknown.
Michael P. Langan, CCM
230 S. Sporting Hill Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Phone: (717) 737-4822
Fax: (717) 920-9439