Michigan is a unique state in many ways. Some obvious, like its magnificent topography, numerous beaches and picturesque shorelines. Some, not so obvious, like its income tax credits for low- to moderate-income households. This is one of the reasons why across the state there are free tax sites open year-round to help Michigan taxpayers file and claim these credits, even if they are not required to do so under the federal tax code. Two of these credits, unique to Michigan, are the Homestead Property Tax Credit and the Home Heating Credit.
The Homestead Property Tax Credit helps eligible homeowners and renters pay some of their property taxes. It is based on the amount of property taxes that are paid (or a portion of a person’s rent that goes to pay property taxes) and a taxpayer’s overall household resources. A taxpayer just needs to fill out form MI-1040CR (or have a free site complete the form for them) to claim the credit. If the taxpayer is blind or a veteran, they may be eligible for a larger credit and need to complete MI-1040CR-2 as well. While the deadline to file the credit is the same as the regular April filing deadline, taxpayers can go back up to three years. Therefore, if a taxpayer did not file their 2016 taxes in April, they can do so now.
The Home Heating Credit is a Michigan credit for low income taxpayers to offset a taxpayer’s cost of heating their home. This credit has a much lower household resource limit than the Homestead Property Tax Credit, which means more eligible taxpayers also may not have any federal or state tax filing requirement. In order to receive this credit, they must file form MI-1040CR-7 or get help at a free tax site. The deadline for the Home Heating Credit is September 30. A taxpayer cannot go back and file for the credit after that time.
It is not too late for you or one of your clients to file for this credit. For help, dial 2-1-1 or visit MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org to find the nearest free tax site. If there does not appear to be a site near you, please contact me and I will see if I can get you the help you need to file for these important Michigan credits. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.