What’s the deal with the Homestead rebate?

Photo: 401kcalculator.org

 Q. I know the state doesn’t have a lot of money, but neither do I. What’s the deal with the Homestead rebate?

A. The NJ Homestead rebate is supposed to provide property tax relief to individuals and families who own and occupy a home in New Jersey and have income below a pre-determined threshold.

But oh, it’s very, very slow.

“The Homestead rebate is being held hostage by the usual New Jersey budget games,” said Michael Maye, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with MJM Financial in Gillette. “My recommendation is don’t hold your breath waiting for the Homestead rebate.”

Maye may be correct, but the relief is certainly needed.

“New Jersey is ranked as the worst state for property taxes in a recent study by the nonprofit Tax Foundation,” said Brian Kazanchy. a certified financial planner with RegentAtlantic Capital in Morristown. “They estimate 1.89 percent of home value is paid in property taxes by New Jersey homeowners each year.”

The process for receiving your Homestead rebate is not particularly efficient, Kazanchy said. For example, applications for the 2012 Homestead benefit were due by Jan. 31, 2014.

“Benefit amounts were scheduled to be determined over the summer with the completion of the state budget for 2015,” he said. “Then, the payment of the benefits is expected to be applied to May 2015 property tax bills.”

Kazanchy said the income thresholds to receive a 2012 rebate have not been announced yet on the New Jersey Department of the Treasury website, however, for reference, the 2011 limits were $150,000 for homeowners age 65 or older or blind or disabled; and $75,000 for homeowners under age 65 and not blind or disabled.

To learn more about the rebate, check out Treasury’s web site.

You can also check the status of your personal rebate on the site.

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This story was first posted in November 2014.

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