Income limits for the Senior Freeze

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Q. To be eligible for the Senior Freeze program for property taxes in New Jersey, is the money limit per individual or per couple?
— Seeking benefits

A. Here goes.

The Senior Freeze program is a property tax reimbursement program designed to keep property taxes affordable for retirees.

Eligible residents can receive a reimbursement of the increase in real estate taxes from the base year — the first year you become eligible — to the current year, said Stephanie Holston, a certified public accountant with Wilkin & Guttenplan in East Brunswick.

In order to be eligible, Holston said, you must meet the following requirements in the first year you become eligible and every year thereafter.

• You or your spouse must be age 65 or older or receiving Federal Social Security disability benefits.
• You must have lived in New Jersey continuously for the last 10 years.
• You must have owned and lived in your current home for at least the last three years.
• You must have paid all property taxes due on your home.
• You must meet the income limits.

For the 2016 benefit, the income limitation is $70,000, Holston said.

“The income limitation is for taxpayers filing a joint tax return,” she said. “The same $70,000 limitation would apply to single taxpayers as well.”

Holston said income includes all income normally reportable on your New Jersey tax return — wages, interest, dividends, business earnings, retirement income, etc. It also includes Social Security benefits, disability benefits and tax-exempt interest, which are not reportable for your New Jersey return.

“There are very few items of income that are not considered,” she said. “Examples of excludable income are life insurance proceeds, property tax reimbursements and income tax refunds.”

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