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PA tax refunds available

Many Pennsylvanians are eligible for refunds through the commonwealth’s Tax Forgiveness program

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The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue announced that many Pennsylvanians who may be eligible for a refund or reduction of their Pennsylvania personal income taxes will be receiving letters in the mail in the coming weeks encouraging them to take action to claim their refunds.

The letters are being sent to Pennsylvanians who the department believes may be eligible for refunds through the commonwealth’s Tax Forgiveness program. The recipients of the letter will be encouraged to file a Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax Return (PA-40) to claim their refunds. Refunds available through the Tax Forgiveness program can be upwards of $1,000 and depend on income and the number of dependent children.

“We want to reach as many Pennsylvanians as possible who are eligible for this program to let them know that their refunds are waiting for them,” said Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. “If you have a neighbor, friend or family member whom you think may be eligible for this program, please encourage them to check their eligibility and file a tax return with our department.”

Using the most recent data available, the Department of Revenue estimates there are tens of thousands of Pennsylvania taxpayers who would qualify for Tax Forgiveness but do not file an income tax return with the commonwealth to claim the benefit.

One way to file your Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax Return and the required additional form, Schedule SP, is by using myPATH, the Department of Revenue’s free, online tax filing system. Look at the links under the “Individuals” section on the homepage. You can click on either “File a PA Personal Income Tax Return for 2020” or “File a PA Personal Income Tax Return for 2019” to file a return for the appropriate year and claim a refund through Tax Forgiveness.

Taxpayers do not need to create a username or password to file the PA-40 and Schedule SP. Prior to filing your return, you will need your wage and tax information. The system will walk you through a series of steps to file your return and determine your eligibility for Tax Forgiveness.

Other free electronic filing options are available to file state and federal returns using software from a reputable vendor. More vendor information is available here.

Through Tax Forgiveness, eligible working families who paid income tax throughout the year may be refunded some or all of that tax paid. Retired persons and low-income individuals who did not have PA income tax withheld from earnings may have PA income tax liabilities forgiven.

About one-in-five households qualify for Tax Forgiveness and it is a benefit commonly received by retirees and low-income workers. A family of four (couple with two children) can earn up to $34,250 and qualify for Tax Forgiveness. Meanwhile, a single parent, two-child family with income of up to $27,750 can also qualify for Tax Forgiveness. Click here for further eligibility information, including eligibility income tables.

People who are claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer are not eligible to receive Tax Forgiveness. There are additional instructions available here.

This program was authorized in the 1970s through legislation enacted by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. In recent years, the program has annually delivered refunds totaling more than $240 million to more than 1 million Pennsylvanians. However, many more people could be taking advantage of this benefit.

Those with questions on Tax Forgiveness can find answers through the department’s Online Customer Service Center. This allows taxpayers to securely submit a question to the department through a process that is similar to sending an email.

Taxpayers may also visit revenue.pa.gov/offices to view contact information for the Department of Revenue’s district offices. You can contact the district office closest to you to schedule an appointment for in-person assistance. There is also phone and email information available on this page to contact the district office that is closest to you.

Visit revenue.pa.gov/taxforgiveness for more information.

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