Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Does a Sage Pay Taxes? Yes, But Less!

Who wants to pay taxes?
Pottstown seniors can get a tax break by volunteering in the schools.

No one.

Who would like a $500 break on their taxes?


Well, if you live in the Pottstown School District, pay property taxes and are over 60 years of age, you can get one.

But you'll have to work for it. Literally.

Since 1994, the Pottstown School District has run something called the Golden Sage program, in which senior citizen taxpayers exchange volunteer time for tax breaks.

Seniors can work directly with students, in a cafeteria, classroom or computer lap, as a tutor, guest speaker or guest reader.

Or, you can work in support areas playing a musical instrument, or asisting in art, library, home economics or science labs.

Or, you can work in the office, doing copying, collating, or clerical work in offices or libraries.
Caroline Haley worked in the administrative office last year.

Here is a link to a story I wrote last year about Carline Haley, who at 95, volunteers nines hours a week at the school district's administrative office.

Up to 100 hours of volunteering gets you up to $500 off your property taxes.

Hours for volunteering are between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., but you don't have to work an eight hour day, for for at least one hour at a time.

After 40 or more hours, you will be given a credit voucher for the numbers of hours worked times $5 per hour. Submit the vouchers with your taxes and the tax collector will subtract the amount of the voucher from your property tax bill.

Applications are available at the administration building receptionist's office, or by calling 610-323-6984.
Golden Sage volunteers can work directly with
students, or not, as they please.

Applicants will be screened on a "first-come, first-served" basis, although an individual's financial need may be considered should more apply than the Golden Sage budget has allocated.

You also have to submit to a criminal records check, child abuse history clearance and cogent fingerprint clearance. These are all in place, obviously, to protect students from coming into contact with those who have a history of child abuse.

There is a $10 fee for the first two clearances which you are responsible for paying.

There is a $40 fee for the fingerprint clearance, which will be reimbursed after you have worked 40 volunteer hours.

"This program has been in effect for 14 years and provides property tax relief for senior citizens," according to the link on the Pottstown School District web site.

"Your volunteering services will be positive, rewarding and personally gratifying. You can make a difference while spending quality time helping with education in the Pottstown School District."

For further information, contact Rick Huss at 610-323-6984 or email rhuss@pottstownsd.org .

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