Why don’t renters get the Senior Freeze?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. Why doesn’t New Jersey pass a similar Senior Freeze for renters who have been paying these taxes indirectly for several decades?
— Senior

A. You’re correct that renters indirectly help to pay the property taxes of the property they’re renting.

But the Senior Freeze program is very specific.

The Senior Freeze program was originally designed to help seniors who own their homes from needing to sell and relocate due to rising property taxes in New Jersey, said Len Nitti, a certified public accountant with Wilkin & Guttenplan in East Brunswick.

“While it may not seem fair that renters haven’t been considered in this program, it doesn’t appear that New Jersey intends to revisit the Senior Freeze program to included benefits for renters at this time,” Nitti said.

One possible reason is it would add complexity to the program as additional steps to verify the benefit would need to be taken such as certification from the landlord, review of leases, proof of residency and more, he said.

“That said with a new administration to be elected in November of this year, it’s possible this program could be revisited,” Nitti said.

One tax benefit that is available to renters is the Property Tax Deduction/Credit available on their NJ-1040.

Under this tax benefit, renters are given credit for 18 percent of their rent paid as a real estate tax deduction, Nitti said.

“The deduction is capped at $10,000 of equivalent real estate tax payments. There is a minimum tax benefit of $50,” he said. “Should the taxpayer not have been deemed to pay in enough real estate taxes to exceed this minimum benefit, they will receive a $50 tax credit on their tax return.”

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