Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tax rebate forms being disseminated

Forms allowing property insurance policyholders to get speedier refunds for assessments paid to finance the debts of the state-run Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are now electronically available, and paper forms will be in regional Department of Revenue offices next week.

As of July 10, state law changed to allow homeowners, renters and businesses who were assessed fees on their insurance bills to cover the Citizens debt to file for rebates from the state as soon as they pay their insurance premiums, department spokeswoman Tara G. Cunningham said.

"The amended law allows property holders an opportunity to file for their credit before the next individual income tax season begins, which makes it more convenient for many," Revenue Department Secretary Cynthia Bridges said.

The rebate will be available for all future years when the individual pays the insurance premium and obtains the form from the department -- or on state tax forms. The form must be accompanied by the policy's "declaration page," the part of the document that shows the assessment levied on the policy for Citizens, Cunningham said.

Policyholders have been assessed an average of 15 percent --and possibly as much as 18.3 percent -- of their premiums last year to help keep Citizens solvent and pay off bonds issued by the state-run insurer. That drops to 3.7 percent this year, but based on when an insurance company bills a premium, the policyholder still might get hit with both of the assessments this year.

Information about the assessment program can be obtained from the Insurance Department's Web site at ; Questions can be directed to a toll-free Insurance Department number, (800) 259-5300,