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Rebate deadline extension is welcome

| October 1, 2023 12:00 AM

By a show of hands, how many readers know what a geocode is? And how many are familiar with the state cadastral?

If you raised your hand, you’re likely among the many fearsome Montanans who successfully navigated the state’s property tax rebate labyrinth. As of Friday, nearly 80% of Montana property owners had received their paper checks of up to $675. Congratulations on a job well done.

For the 20% still adrift in Gov. Greg Gianforte’s rebate obstacle course, consider yourself on the clock. The deadline to cross the finish line is Oct. 2.

It was Oct. 1, but it dawned on the state Department of Revenue last week that a Sunday deadline was less than ideal for procrastinators who might need last-minute assistance in using the cadastral to track down that pesky 17-digit geocode that identifies a property in order to get a rebate.

Extending the filing deadline is a welcomed move.

The information the state needs to process claims is cumbersome to find, even for the digitally savvy — but it’s particularly daunting for people who struggle with technology or those with limited internet access.

Thankfully, the revenue department recognized those flaws and challenges early on in the rebate process and launched public education campaigns and shared step-by-step tutorials on how to navigate the online portal and file paper forms.

More importantly, extending the filing deadline indicates the state is earnest in its efforts to return surplus funding to all qualifying property taxpayers — it’s your money, after all. It’s worth noting that the 180,000 claims approved thus far have totaled more than $120 million in rebates.

The countdown is on to get yours.

Electronic claims will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, while paper claims must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 2.

If you need assistance, call the Montana Department of Revenue call center at 1-406-444-6900.

The qualifications to claim the rebate are available at getmyrebate.mt.gov, where there is also a FAQ on how to clear all of those hoops and hurdles in order to file a claim.