Will I get a check or tax credit for the Senior Freeze?

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Q. How are the reimbursements issued for the New Jersey Senior Freeze program? Is it by check or a credit to property taxes as the New Jersey Homestead Rebate program does?
— Senior homeowner

A. Great question.

You’re correct that the Homestead Rebate program credits your tax bill.

The Senior Freeze works differently.

According to the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Taxation, “The Senior Freeze Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence.”

To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year, which is the year which you became eligible for the Senior Freeze, through the application year, said Deva Panambur, a certified financial planner with Sarsi, LLC in West New York. and adjunct professor of personal finance at Montclair State University.

The current application year is 2018.

Eligibility requirements include age, residency, home ownership, property tax payment history and income limits. You can read more about that here.

The Division of Taxation states the income limits for each year. You can find that here.

The Senior Freeze program doesn’t actually freeze your property taxes, but instead will reimburse you for any property tax increase you incur once you are in the program, Panambur said.

“The Division of Taxation will mail you a check for the difference between your property tax for the base year – first year of eligibility – and the property tax for the current year,” he said. “The amount is sent only if the current year property tax amount is higher than the base year and you have met all eligibility requirements.”

Checks are mailed on or before July 15, Sept. 1, Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 depending on when you apply. Although the Division of Taxation tries to mail the application to everyone that it thinks maybe eligible, they state that it may be necessary to reach out to them and ask for the application, Panambur said.

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This story was originally published on Oct. 23, 2019.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.