Wichita plans to offer property tax relief for some taxpayers. Could you be eligible?

By Matthew Kelly/Wichita Eagle | August 28, 2023

Certain Wichita residents will soon be able to apply to have more of their 2023 property taxes refunded through a combination of state and city programs. The City Council has approved a one-year tax relief pilot program that aims to provide targeted tax relief for low-income seniors, disabled veterans and their surviving spouses, and low-income residents with underage dependents. To qualify, residents must provide proof that they applied for and received a tax credit of at least $40 through one of three state programs: Kansas Property Tax Relief for Low Income Seniors (SAFESR): The city plans to refund 25% of participants’ property tax costs, meaning seniors who already received a 75% refund from the state through SAFESR can recoup all of their property tax money.

To qualify for SAFESR, residents must be 65 or older, live in a house valued at no more than $350,000 and have a household income of no more than $22,000. Homestead Refund: The city plans to refund an additional 25% of whatever Homestead Refund participants have already been reimbursed by Kansas. Those participants, who can receive up to $700 from the state if they live in a home valued at no more than $350,000, have a household income of no more than $37,750 and are 55 or older, blind or permanently disabled, or have a dependent child under the age of 18 who lived with them the entire year. Kansas Property Tax Relief Claim for Seniors and Disabled Veterans: This state program locks in participants’ property tax costs at the year they became eligible and refunds tax money paid beyond that in subsequent years. The city would refund an additional 25% of the refund participants receive. To qualify, residents must live in a home valued no more than $350,000, make no more than $50,000 annually and be either 65 or older, a disabled veteran or their surviving spouse. Wichita’s pilot program will provide up to $660,000 of refunds on a first-come, first-served basis. Funding will come from the projected $14.1 million surplus that the city plans to transfer from the general fund to the reserves in 2024.

It passed 4-3 on a party-line vote with Democratic support along with the rest of Wichita’s $715 million budget. More information about the property tax relief program will be made available this fall when the city produces an application form. In addition to that form, residents hoping to participate will have to provide the city with the following information: a copy of their 2023 state income tax return, and proof that it was accepted by the state a copy of the state income tax refund they received (check or electronic payment), or a copy of their payment to the state of Kansas for any liability shown on their tax return a completed W9 form and a city vendor registration form (city spokesperson Megan Lovely told The Eagle this requirement may or may not be eliminated in the final version of the program)