Through the district’s S.E.R.V.E.S. program (Seniors Earning Rebates by Volunteering in Elizabethtown Schools), senior citizens can volunteer in various capacities to earn a discount on their taxes. S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteers can earn up to a $550 credit toward their taxes depending on the number of hours volunteered (77 hours earns maximum credit).
S.E.R.V.E.S. stands for
Seniors Earning Rebates and Volunteering in Elizabethtown Schools
The goals of the S.E.R.V.E.S. program:
To provide an opportunity for the reduction of the real estate tax burden on senior citizens, provide an opportunity to communicate life skills and experience to students of the School District, to help develop greater school and community interaction, and to provide service to the School District in areas of need.
Who qualifies to participate in the S.E.R.V.E.S. program:
Any senior citizen age 62 years and over who is retired, is a property owner and occupant of that property, and pays the school tax for that property may participate
Any person age 55 years and over that lives in the district and who is unable to volunteer due to illness or disabilities may designate a qualified senior citizen to serve for them as a “stand in”.
S.E.R.V.E.S. Volunteer Requirements:
Potential S.E.R.V.E.S. program volunteers must submit a completed application to the Elizabethtown Area School District’s Business Office.
The Business Office will review the application to determine eligibility and possible placement. The School District reserves the right to refuse a volunteer from performing services in the district or in a particular school for undisclosed reasons.
Qualifying volunteers are required to obtain Act 34 - Criminal History, Act 151 - Child Abuse, and Act 114 – FBI fingerprints clearances and receive a TB test. One set of background checks will be paid by the School District by submitting your receipts.
An individual who applies must do so with an understanding that services are provided as a volunteer, and that the individual will not receive any tax credit or other value of any kind unless all requirements of this program for receipt of the tax credit are met including ownership of the property or another property within the district at the time scheduled for applying the tax credit.
The School District will issue a W-2 to the volunteer performing the services. The W-2 will be issued at the completion of the calendar year for which the tax credit was issued. The W-2 will be issued for the value of the tax credit plus the employee’s share of FICA payroll taxes. The school district will pay the employee's share of payroll taxes for the tax credit. No payroll taxes will be withheld from the tax credit.
Volunteers who S.E.R.V.E. for others as a “stand in” are limited to providing volunteer services for two (2) qualified household units per school year. Full-time district employees may not volunteer their services for the program. Part-time district employees, employed less than 15 hours per week, may perform volunteer services for others. However, a part-time employee’s worked hours and volunteer time may not exceed 40 hours in a given week. Employees may not volunteer services within their current position duties. A qualified husband and wife may each perform the allowed 77 hours of service within the school year, as long as the combined total earned does not exceed the tax amount paid for that year.
Each volunteer is permitted to work 77 hours, earning a credit of $7.15 per hour and a maximum $550.00 credit. In the event of two volunteers from one household, the maximum credit for a household is $1,100.00. Under no circumstances may the credit exceed the total annual amount of School District taxes for the property. Volunteers will be required to report to their designated work location as assigned and perform the required duties of the position in a satisfactory manner. Volunteers not meeting performance requirements will be released from the S.E.R.V.E.S. program. Volunteers may continue their service beyond 77 hours, however, there will be no additional credit for this additional time. A S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteer who would like to work over the maximum 77 hours may be a “stand-in” for a qualified senior citizen who is not able to volunteer due to illness or disabilities. The senior citizen who is not able to volunteer due to illness or disabilities would need to fill out an application and meet the requirements.
Social Security Note: Wages earned for your tax credit and for the person you volunteer to “stand-in” for will be reported to the Social Security office and could affect your tax status. You should consult a tax advisor to determine how this will affect you.
Possible Positions Available:
Working Directly with Students
- Classroom Aide, Cafeteria Aide, Library Aide
- Tutor, Reading and/or Listening to Students
- Playground/Hall Monitor
Working in Support Areas
- Playing the Piano or other Music Instruments
- Assisting in Art, Library, Home Economics
Working in Offices and Building Support
- Clerical Aide, Custodian, Maintenance
Payment of Tax Credits for Service:
The tax credit for service provided to the School District during a year will be credited to the following year tax invoice. Credits earned during the 2015-2016 school year will reduce the tax liability for the real estate tax invoices issued in July of 2016 for the 2016-2017 school year. The tax invoices issued in July will reflect the full amount due, however, the tax payer and the tax collector will be issued a credit statement indicating the amount of the credit. The taxpayer will only be required to pay the net amount due after application of the tax credit. Tax credits must be used in the tax year following the year in which they are earned. Should a S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteer sell their property and purchase and move to another property within the Elizabethtown Area School District, the credit may be transferred to that property for that individual. If a S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteer sells their property and does not purchase another property within the School District, the credit is forfeited. Tax credits are not transferrable to another individual.
Real estate tax credit vouchers will be issued to qualifying volunteers or approved households satisfying all S.E.R.V.E.S. program requirements. The tax credit vouchers will be mailed no later than July 1st, following the completion of the school year for which volunteer services were performed.
The tax credit vouchers should be submitted with the approved household’s real estate tax bill. The taxpayer should issue their payment payable to the School District for the net amount due for the real estate taxes (total real estate tax minus the amount of the tax credit voucher). S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteers that have their real estate taxes escrowed should forward their tax credit vouchers to the district’s tax office after their mortgage companies have paid the real estate taxes. The district will issue a refund payable to the volunteer upon verification of the tax payment. Volunteers should not forward the tax credit vouchers to their escrow agents. The escrow agents should forward payment to the School District for the entire tax billed; the escrow agent should not attempt to reduce the tax billed with the tax credit. S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteers that elect to pay their real estate tax bills with installments may apply the tax credit voucher toward the first installment.
Completed S.E.R.V.E.S. timesheets must be submitted to the appropriate building principal each week of volunteer service. Principals should forward the completed S.E.R.V.E.S. timesheets to the Administrative Assistant. The Administrative Assistant will review the S.E.R.V.E.S. timesheets and enter the hours into the summary spreadsheet. At the end of the school year, the Administrative Assistant will provide the Tax Office with the names and other pertinent information of the volunteers eligible for the real estate tax credit. The Administrative Assistant will forward the necessary payroll information to the payroll clerk for end of year W-2 reporting along with the completed S.E.R.V.E.S. timesheets. The payroll clerk will enter the amount of tax credit as employee compensation and report the appropriate payroll taxes. Federal, state or local income tax will not be withheld from the tax credit.
The Business Manager will be assigned the responsibilities of Program Coordinator and will work closely with the Human Resource Director, Community Relations Coordinator, and building Administrators to monitor the quality of the program. Feedback from both the staff of the School District and the volunteers will be solicited to provide an ongoing review and to make any necessary refinements to the program. The Board of School Directors will be provided with a periodic report concerning the level of participation and the services provided by the volunteers.
The School District reserves the right to discontinue the S.E.R.V.E.S. program at any time.
Should this happen, participants will be given credit for their hours of participation.
If you are interested in becoming a S.E.R.V.E.S. volunteer, click on "School District Volunteers" link below. Follow the volunteer procedures and complete all necessary clearances and forms.