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Deadline Looming for Seniors to Apply for NJ Property Tax Reduction

by Karin Price Mueller, for

This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement. Link to story:

While lawmakers in Washington D.C. have failed to reinstate the full SALT property tax deduction, some New Jerseyans still have a chance to lower their property tax bills. The Senior Freeze program, which reimburses eligible seniors and disabled residents for increases in their property taxes or mobile home fees, is still available.

But the deadline to apply for the latest year of benefits, which is for 2021, is October 31, 2022.

The state recently increased the income limit by more than 30 perent, said state treasurer Elizabeth Muoio in a statement.

“The Senior Freeze program effectively protects qualified seniors and disabled New Jerseyans from facing property tax increases, making it easier for them to stay in the communities where many have spent decades,” she said. “For those living on a fixed income, it can make all the difference.”

Applications for the current Senior Freeze were mailed in February, but if you didn’t get the application booklet, you can call the state at 800-882-6597. That’s important if you’ve moved because the postal service doesn’t forward the application.

When a resident first applies for the program, they create a “base year” of eligibility. The program will then “freeze” property tax increases for subsequent years.

To be eligible, you or your spouse or civil union partner must have been 65 or older on December 31, 2020, or receiving federal Social Security disability benefit payments on or before December 31, 2020. You must have lived in New Jersey continuously for 10 years, since December 31, 2010 or earlier, as either a homeowner or a renter.

Homeowners must have owned and lived in their home—only primary residences are eligible—since December 31, 2017 or earlier, and still owned and lived in the home on December 31, 2021. Your property taxes for 2020 property must have been paid in full by June 1, 2021, and the 2021 property taxes must have been paid by June 1, 2022.

Mobile home owners must have leased a site in a mobile home park where you placed a manufactured or mobile home that you owned since December 31, 2017 or earlier, and you must have still lived in that home and leased the site on December 31, 2021. Your site fees must have been paid in full Dec. 31 of each year.

You also must meet income limits. Your total annual income, if you were single or if you were married or in a civil union and lived in the same home, must have been $92,969 or less in 2020 and $94,178 or less in 2021.

The Division of Taxation said it began issuing payments on July 15 and it will continue to send payments monthly through the end of the year.

Be on the lookout for another property tax savings program, known as ANCHOR. Short for “Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters,” which will replace the Homestead Rebate program, it will provide relief for up to 2 million taxpayers in New Jersey, the state said, with an average payout will be $971.

It includes homeowners and tenants, and age is no longer a requirement.

ANCHOR will provide credits of up to $1,500 to taxpayers with 2019 gross incomes up to $150,000 and $1,000 for those with gross incomes between $150,000 and $250,000. Renters will also receive up to $450 if they have with gross income of up to $150,000.

The applications will be available this fall by phone or mail like the Homestead Rebate and need to be completed by December 30, and benefits are expected to be paid out by May 2023.

SNJ Today will include this reporter’s coverage of ANCHOR in next week’s Community Update.