How to Figure the Homestead Rebate in Wisconsin

By Fred Decker ; Updated April 26, 2017

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If you're a low-incomeWisconsin resident, the state's homestead rebate can put some money back in your pocket at tax time. Whether you file electronically or on paper, you'll need to complete a Schedule H-EZ or a Schedule H to claim it. If you were a full-time Wisconsin resident during the entire tax year, and your household income was below the state's designated threshold of $24,680 per year, as of 2017, you may be eligible for the rebate.

Choose the Right Form

There are two versions of the rebate application, Schedules H-EZ and H. Schedule H-EZ is the simple version, a one-page form that covers uncomplicated tax situations. If you earn some form of taxable income and did not marry, divorce or sell your home during the tax year, you can use Schedule H-EZ. Otherwise, you'll need to fill out the three-page Schedule H. Wisconsin's Department of Revenue includes a full list of conditions on its instructions for the forms, so you should be able to easily determine which form to use. If you're unsure, call the department for clarification. Download and print the forms from the Department of Revenue's website or fill them out online.

Completing Schedule H-EZ

Gather all of your income information, for yourself if you live alone, or for you and your spouse if you're married. Only one of you can claim the rebate. If you're married, your combined income from all sources must be under $24,680. Refer to your pay stubs, W-2 or W-11 forms and other pertinent documents to fill in the boxes in the Household Income section, covering lines 4 through 6i on the 2017 version of Schedule H-EZ. In the Taxes and/or Rent section, enter either your property taxes or the amount you pay for rent and heat. If your rent includes heat, multiply the amount by .20 and write this new figure on line 9b. If heat is not included, multiply your rent by .25 and write that on line 9d. Finally, add lines 8, 9b and 9d and write the total on line 10. Attach your property tax bill or rent certificates, whichever is appropriate.

Making the Calculation

First, add up all forms of income on lines 4 through 6i and enter them on line 7a. Next, multiply the number of dependents you have in the household – not counting your spouse – by $500 each and enter that deduction on line 7b. Subtract the per-person deduction from line 7a and enter the total on line 7c. The total must be less than $24,680. Move ahead to line 11 and enter $1,460 or the number from line 10, whichever is smaller. Now, refer to your income amount on line 7c and look it up in Table A, found on page 17 of the instructions for Schedule H and H-EZ. Find your income in Table A and write it on line 12. Subtract line 12 from line 11 and write that amount on line 13. Look up the amount from line 13 in Table B, found on page 18 of the instructions. This is the amount of your rebate, which goes on line 14.

Here's an Example

Let's walk through a calculation, using hypothetical numbers. If your combined income on line 7a is $20,000 and you have two dependent children, write $1,000 on line 7b and subtract that from 7a to get a total household income of $19,000 on line 7c. If you paid rent of $600 per month with heat not included, multiply $600 by 12 months to make $7,200, put that in 9c, multiply by .25, and write the resulting figure of $1800 on line 9d. If that was all your rent, enter it on line 10 as well. That's higher than $1,460, so write $1,460 on line 11. Your line 7c income was $19,000, so look that up in Table A and write $965 on line 12. Subtract line 12 from line 11 and you get the amount of $495. Look this up in Table B and write $396 in line 14. This is your rebate amount.

It's Not Too Late

If you missed filing for the homestead credit in a year when you were eligible, it may not be too late to claim it. You can file for the rebate up to five years after the tax deadline for that taxation year. For example, you have until April 15, 2021 for the tax year ending December 31, 2016. To put it another way, you can claim rebates as far back as 2012 during the 2017 tax season. If you use a fiscal year-end for your taxes, as opposed to the calendar year, the limit is four years, 3.5 months from the end of that fiscal year.

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.