My home’s assessment went up. What about the Senior Freeze?


Q. I am receiving the Senior Freeze with my base year being 2016. Every 10 years there is a townwide re-evaluation of homes and my assessed value went up while neighbors’ went down. The increase was probably because I renovated a bathroom and kitchen. I will owe considerably more tax in 2020. Will I still receive the total difference from my base year in my Senior Freeze or are the improvement amounts somehow removed?
— Senior

A. Property taxes are always a frustrating topic in New Jersey.

The Senior Freeze reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residences.

To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year through the application year, said Gerard Papetti, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

He notes the current application year is 2019.

To be eligible, you or your spouse/civil union partners must have been age 65 or older on Dec. 31, 2018, or receiving federal Social Security disability benefits on or before Dec. 31, 2018, he said.

You also had to have lived in New Jersey continuously since Dec. 31, 2008 or earlier as a homeowner or renter, he said, and you must have paid 2018 property taxes by June 1, 2019 and 2019 property taxes by June 1, 2020.

Finally, your total annual income — combined if married or civil union and lived in same home — must have been $89,013 or less in 2018 and $91,505 or less in 2019, he said.

“The Senior Freeze program reimburses homeowners for any property tax increases you have once you are in the program,” he said.

Each year you are eligible you will receive the difference between your base year — the first year of eligibility which is 2016 in your situation — property tax amount and the current year property tax amount as long as the current year property tax is higher than the base year, Papetti said.

As it relates to your specific situation, when a reassessment is done and your property taxes increase due to an improvement to your residence, Form PTR-2A Homeowners Verification of 2019 Property Taxes must be completed, he said.

“The Tax Collector will complete Part II which asks if the property had an additional assessment and if yes, your base year of 2016 will be adjusted to the year of additional assessment which would be 2020, Papetti said.

He said he called the Senior Freeze hotline at (800) 882-6597.

”They indicated that there is a formula for how your future property tax reimbursement will be calculated and is based on the percentage increase from your initial base year to the reassessed year,” he said. “They will be able to give you a more definitive answer if you contact them with your property information.”

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This story was originally published on Nov. 12, 2020. 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.