Citizens Could See Some Big Changes in N.J. Property Tax Relief Program

Social Security Attorney, East Brunswick New Jersey

Citizens 65-years-old and older living in New Jersey who benefit from the Senior Freeze property tax relief program might receive credits against their real estate bills rather than rebates if a new bill passes in the Legislature.

The program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence.

To qualify, residents must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year – from the base year through the application year.

According to an article published by nj.com, the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Monday approved the bill, which would convert the Senior Freeze reimbursements into credits.

The changes are expected to cut state administrative costs while simultaneously sparing homeowners the expense of paying a full bill before they receive a reimbursement check the following tax year.

“The Senior Freeze programs is slated to help offset property tax increases for about 166,000 property owners this fiscal year,” the article reads.

Eligibility for the Senior Freeze program requires citizens to be 65-years-old or older, receiving Social Security benefits directly, and having lived in the state for 10 years as either a homeowner or renter.

Homeowners must have owned and lived in their home for at least three years while also having paid the full amount of property taxes on the home.

Income limits for the Property Tax Reimbursement Program include all income received during the year — with very few exceptions — which must be taken into account when determining eligibility. For a single or married couple in 2016, only those with a combined income less than or equal to $87,007 are eligible.

You are not eligible for a reimbursement on:

  • A vacation home or second home; or
  • Property that you rent to someone else; or
  • Property that consists of more than four units; or
  • Property with four units or less that contains more than one commercial unit.

You are also not eligible if you:

  • Are completely exempt from paying property taxes on your home; or
  • Made P.I.L.O.T. (Payments-in-Lieu-of-Tax) payments to your municipality.

“The bill (A4608) would deliver the tax relief as a credit against homeowners’ third and fourth quarter property tax bills,” the article reads.

Proponents of the bill say the changes would be a welcome reprieve, especially for seniors and disabled residents who are living on a tight, fixed income.

The direct credit applied to a current tax year would financially help immediately, rather than residents having to pay the tax and then wait for a rebate.

It also saves the state money by eliminating the cost of cutting and distributing rebate checks.

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