A "jobs bill" passed last month aims to create more jobs in Arizona, but it may cost careless homeowners up to $600.
The new 214-page law approved large tax cuts for businesses that will happen over four years. However, in order to make sure the reduction in what businesses pay is not transferred to homeowners, the law also includes a section that requires homeowners to sign an affidavit to ensure they are living in their home.
Homes in Arizona are classified as either Class 3, owner occupied, or Class 4, investment properties. The difference is that Class 3 homes receive a state aid rebate in property taxes.
The new law will classify every home as Class 4 until the homeowner signs an affidavit claiming they live in their home.
"In my research it looks like it was rushed through and I don't think they took the time to explain the full impact," said Gordon Baker with RE/MAX Alliance Group, which does business in Ahwatukee Foothills. "As a homeowner I didn't hear too much about it before it was passed. They talked a lot about the positive impacts, but not really about who would be paying for it. From what I see, people with secondary homes or vacation homes will automatically be paying for it. I think a lot of other homeowners will be caught off guard."
Sponsors of the bill believe asking homeowners to sign an affidavit is the best way to confirm who should and shouldn't be receiving the rebate and save the state money.
The purpose of the bill is to create jobs.
"We needed to be more competitive and we obviously weren't," said Paul Boyer, spokesman for the state House majority. "This will give us that competition and create more jobs. Arizona relied on the construction industry for way too long and this will diversify our economy."
The Nation Federation of Independent Business lobbied for the bill. Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for NFIB, said the legislation contained changes in property and income taxes that had long been wanted by the group. The affidavit is a way to clarify the rebate and stop people from abusing it.
"The homeowners rebate is supposed to be applied to owner-occupied residents," Quinlan said. "Vacation homes and rental homes were never envisioned to be included. Legally, homeowners are only allowed one subsidy. This clarifies the law so that no one is double- or triple-dipping and each homeowner only gets one subsidy."
It's unclear how the affidavit will be sent out or when the law will start affecting homeowners. Baker said he is hoping the affidavit is obvious.
"We all get property evaluations each year," he said. "I would read through every piece in detail. It may require action. I don't know what form the affidavit will be in, but we can't assume the property evaluations are for information only."
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