Will I get my whole Homestead Rebate?

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Q. I just received a Homestead Rebate check for 2016. I turned 65 in April of that year and met the qualifications. What is the maximum rebate for 2016 and how are individual rebates determined? Am I eligible for both parts of the rebate for 2016 or only the second half?
— Homeowner

A. Welcome to the Homestead Rebate program, officially called the Homestead Benefit program, which works in mysterious ways.

The details of how the program works can be found on the Division of Taxation website.

The 2016 Homestead Benefit is calculated using the 2006 property taxes for the home that was your principal residence on Oct. 1, 2016, said Mary Ford, a certified public accountant and tax director with Sobel and Co. in Livingston.

If no property taxes were assessed on the residence for 2006, the state determines the amount of property taxes that would have been due by using the current assessed value and the 2006 property tax rate, she said.

Your 2016 Homestead Benefit is based on your:

  • 2016 New Jersey gross income;
  • 2016 filing status (single; married, filing jointly; head of household; etc.);
  • Age/disability status (whether you were 65 or older and/or blind or disabled on December 31, 2016); and
  • Property taxes paid in 2006 on your principal residence.

“Since you were the age of 65 on December 31 your benefit – for the whole year – is calculated based on your income,” Ford said.

If your income is not over $100,000, multiply your 2006 property taxes paid, up to $10,000, by 10%.

If your income is over $100,000 but not over $150,000, then multiply your 2006 property taxes paid, up to $10,000, by 5%.

If your income is more than $150,000, you’re not eligible.

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This story was originally published on Nov. 28, 2019.

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