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  • Writer's pictureDevin Starr

Senior Living in New Jersey? You May be Eligible for New Jersey’s Property Tax Freeze Program

Key Takeaways
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  • If you're 65 or older, New Jersey's Senior Freeze program allows you to maintain your current property tax bill for as long as you live in your home.

  • Income limits have recently been raised and residency requirements reduced, so don’t overlook this valuable tax savings opportunity.

  • Paperwork and income/residency verification is simple, but we’re happy to assist.


Are you feeling the pinch of high property tax bills lately? You are not alone. Many homeowners find themselves sticker-shocked by higher-than-average property tax increases. Fortunately, New Jersey has revamped another property tax relief program for seniors. Thanks to recent legislative changes, more of our senior clients are qualifying for the state’s popular “Senior Freeze” property-tax relief program. If your 2023 annual income was below $163,050, you’re in good shape. But you must also meet the other eligibility requirements courtesy of the State of New Jersey Division of Taxation (see below):

Age/Disability

You (or your spouse/civil union partner) were:

  • 65 or older on December 31, 2022; or

  • Actually receiving federal Social Security disability benefit payments (not benefit payments received on behalf of someone else) on or before December 31, 2022.

Home Ownership

You owned and lived in your home since December 31, 2019, or earlier (and you still owned and lived in that home on December 31, 2023).

Property Taxes

The 2022 property taxes due on your home must have been paid by June 1, 2023, and the 2023 property taxes must be paid by June 1, 2024.

Income Limit

Your total annual income (combined if you were married or in a civil union and lived in the same home) was:

2022 – $150,000 or less; and

2023 – $163,050 or less

Not eligible for reimbursement

  • A vacation home or second home.

  • Property that you rent to someone else.

  • Property that consists of more than four units; or

  • Property with four units or less that contains more than one commercial unit.

  • 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.

Source: State of New Jersey Division of Taxation


Until recently, the residency requirement was 10 years, and the income limit was only $100,000, which disqualified many of you who are over age 65. Moreover, you must have paid all your 2022 property taxes by June 1, 2023, and all 2023 property taxes by June 1, 2024.


Inflation is a concern for all our clients, but it’s particularly worrisome for retirees on a fixed income. Even with their mortgages paid off, property taxes can be one of the biggest annual expenses for retirees. The Senior Freeze program is an excellent way to mitigate that risk.


Note (1): With some exceptions, all income must be considered, including Social Security, pension, etc.


Note(2): Your township or municipality may still choose to reassess your property and impose an increase. The program will then reimburse you for the increased property taxes. The intention of the program is for the state of New Jersey to finance your property tax relief while the municipalities can still collect their full revenue.


saving

Another benefit of the Senior Freeze program is that it does not prevent you from participating in the New Jersey Anchor Rebate Program. This program offers a partial tax refund to all New Jersey residents earning less than $250,000 who own or rent their homes. The application period for this year's Anchor rebate is open in the fall.


If you need help determining your previous income to see if you qualify for the Senior Freeze or Anchor Rebate Programs, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. If you are a Novi client that successfully applies for the Senior Freeze, please let us know so we can incorporate the income limits into your tax planning. We have a variety of tax location and loss harvesting techniques we can use to help you lower your income to the required threshold for these programs.


The deadline to file applications is Oct. 31, 2024. According to the Department of the Treasury, applications are being mailed to the last address from which taxpayers filed. Applicants can also access the online filing portal at https://www.njportal.com/taxation/ptr.


Anyone who does not receive application materials by March 15 should contact the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s Senior Freeze Property Tax Reimbursement Information Line for assistance at 1-800-882-6597.


Conclusion

If you're unsure about qualifying for New Jersey's Senior Freeze or Anchor Rebate Programs, or if you need assistance gathering your income information or completing the application forms for either program, there's still an opportunity to qualify. Feel free to contact me anytime, I'm here to assist you.

 


 

Devin Starr, CFP® Associate Wealth Advisor at Novi Wealth

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