Homestead Credit Definitions

(En Español)


  1. What is the homestead credit program?
  2. What is the meaning of the following terms for homestead credit purposes?

  1. What is the homestead credit program?

    The homestead credit program is designed to soften the impact of property taxes and rent on persons with lower incomes. The benefit available may take the form of an income tax credit or a direct refund. The credit is based on the relationship of your household income to the amount of your allowable property taxes and/or rent for the calendar year.

  2. What is the meaning of the following terms for homestead credit purposes?

    • Disabled

      An individual who is unable to engage in any substantial gainful employment by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or is reasonably expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

    • Earned Income

      Wages, salaries, tips, other employee compensation, and net earnings from self-employment.

    • Farm

      Your homestead generally is considered part of a farm if the current or most recent use of the property while owned by you was for agricultural purposes.

    • Homestead

      Your homestead is the Wisconsin home you occupy, whether you own it or rent it, and up to one acre of land adjoining it (or up to 120 acres of land if the homestead is part of a farm). For example, it may be a house, an apartment, a rented room, a mobile home, a farm, or a nursing home room. Unless your homestead is part of a farm, it does not include any part which is rented to others, used for business purposes, or a separate unit occupied by others rent free.

    • Household

      If you are single, you are considered a household, whether you live alone or with others. If you are married, you and your spouse are considered a household if you live together. If you are married but you and your spouse maintained separate homes on December 31, 2017, you are each considered a separate household.

    • Household income

      Household income is all your income reportable for Wisconsin income tax purposes and all items specifically identified on lines 9a through 11i of Schedule H (lines 6a through 6i of Schedule H-EZ), less a deduction of $500 for each qualifying dependent who occupied your homestead for more than six months during 2017. If you were married and lived with your spouse during all of 2017, you must combine your income and that of your spouse to determine your total household income. If, during 2017, your spouse died, you became married or divorced, or you were separated from your spouse for all or part of the year (including one spouse living in a nursing home), see the special instructions on pages 19 and 20 of the Schedule H and H-EZ instruction booklet for how to determine your household income.

      Note: "Household income" includes certain nontaxable income such as social security and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits; pensions and annuities; unemployment compensation; capital gains; contributions to IRAs and Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, and deferred compensation plans; court ordered support money and maintenance payments; scholarships, fellowships, and grants; military compensation; interest on U.S. government securities; county relief benefits; cash public assistance (Wisconsin Works (W2), Kinship care, etc.); and all depreciation and depletion claimed in computing Wisconsin taxable income. This list is not all-inclusive. Refer to the Schedule H, Homestead Credit Claim, lines 9a through 11i, and the Schedule H and H-EZ instruction booklet for a list of "household income."

    • Qualifying dependent

      A qualifying dependent is a person who:

      • Is or may be claimed as a dependent on your federal income tax return, and
      • Occupied your (the claimant's) home for more than six months during 2017.

      A dependent is considered to have occupied your homestead during temporary absences for reasons such as school, illness, or vacations.

    • Wisconsin Works (W2) payment

      A Wisconsin Works (W2) payment is a payment received under the Wisconsin Works assistance program for participating in a community service job or a transitional placement, or a payment received as a caretaker of a newborn child.

      Note: Amounts received under the program for trial jobs are taxable wages and are not included in the definition of Wisconsin Works (W2) payment. Amounts received under the program for job access loans, health care coverage, child care subsidies, and transportation assistance are also not included in the definition of Wisconsin Works (W2) payment. These amounts are not includable in household income.


MS 5-77
PO Box 8949
Madison WI 53708-8949
Phone: (608) 266-8641
Fax: (608) 267-1030
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December 20, 2017