What’s included as Senior Freeze income?

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Q. For the Senior Freeze, what income is included in the income limit of $87,007 for 2016?
— Trying to qualify

A. The Senior Freeze program, a property tax reimbursement program designed to keep property taxes affordable for retirees, has strict rules.

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.

She said in order to be eligible, 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.

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

The number you cited is an old one. The income limit of $87,007 was for the 2015 reimbursement program and is no longer applicable, she said.

Income includes all income normally reportable on your New Jersey tax return — wages, interest, dividends, business earnings, retirement income and more. In addition, it includes Social Security benefits, disability benefits and tax-exempt interest, Holston said.

“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.”

And mark your calendar: The filing deadline for 2016 Senior Freeze applications is Oct. 18, 2017.

Email your questions to moc.p1596929034leHye1596929034noMJN1596929034@ksA1596929034.

This post was originally published in August 2017. 

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