This summer has seen multiple days of 90 degree + weather so far, and my guess is the last thing anyone is probably thinking about is heating their home. However, if those eligible have not applied for the Michigan Home Heating Credit, then they should. Believe it or not, soon enough these long, hot summer days will be shorter and colder. If you do not file your 2017 Home Heating Credit using the MI 1040CR-7 by September 30, 2018, it will be too late.
Unfortunately every year, far too many eligible taxpayers across Michigan fail to claim their home heating credit. This leaves millions of dollars in the state’s coffers in Lansing instead of helping people cover their utility expenses or offset other costs. This hurts both the eligible families that fail to claim the credit and the communities they are from—it means less assistance coming into Michigan’s local economies.
Along with the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit, the Home Heating Credit is unique to Michigan. Both credits do not require a person to file a state income tax to claim them, which is one of the reasons they are often overlooked by newly eligible taxpayers. The Property Tax Credit has a higher total household resources limit, so if you do not qualify for the lower-income limits of the Home Heating Credit, you may be able to claim it. However, unlike the Property Tax Credit where a filer has four years from the original due date to file a claim, there is a strict deadline of September 30th to file a previous year’s Home Heating Credit.
That is why it is so important to get the word out, now.
Implied in its name, the Michigan Home Heating Credit is designed to pay for heating costs. You may be running the AC instead of the furnace right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t claim the credit on a 90 degree August day. If you paid for heat this past winter and your total household resources fall within the guideline then you can access it now. In most cases, the credit will go directly to your utility provider which can result in a lower bill. However if you paid money directly to a provider of fuel, heating oil or wood last year, then you will receive the refund.
If you reside in subsidized housing, a service fee complex or adult foster care, you may still be eligible to claim the heating credit. But again, you only have until September 30, 2018 to claim your 2017 Home Heating Credit, so don’t delay.
To file yourself, download the form and instructions, fill it out and send it. Or, you can see if there is a free tax preparation site near you by dialing 2-1-1. Regardless of what you do, don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re left out in the cold without your Michigan Home Heating Credit.
By Carl Lewis
Tax Program Coordinator