GREENCASTLE -- Residential property owners received pink slips with their spring tax bills in an effort to prevent fraud.
State law allows residential property owners to file for a Homestead Credit for their primary residence in Indiana -- the determination for primary residence is where one resides more than six months a year.
The problem, however, is some property owners are applying for the credit on second properties owned in the Hoosier state or in another state.
Last year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation requiring all residential property owners to verify their Homestead Credit. The Department of Local Government Finance said the intent of the legislation was to eliminate fraud.
"Prior to the verification process, we were not able to determine the number of people in Indiana claiming more than one Homestead Credit," said Amanda Stanley, a spokesman for DLGF.
Residents who received the credit should have received the pink slip, which requires the last five digits of their Social Security number and driver's license number.
That information will be put into a database maintained by the state to prevent duplication of the Homestead Credit, said Evelyn Owens, Putnam County deputy auditor.
The verification form is signed under penalty of perjury. If fraud is discovered, the property owners will be required to pay back taxes and a civil penalty plus interest. And should a residential property owner fail to fill out the form, the Homestead Credit for 2012 payable in 2013 will be removed.
The form will be mailed again in 2011 and 2012 and once it has been filled out and returned, another form will not be mailed to the property owner. Property owners can either mail their verification form to the Putnam County Auditor's Office, 1 Courthouse Square, Ste. 20, or return it in person.
The deadline to return the slips is Monday.