What property tax breaks are there for seniors in N.J.?

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Q. What, if any, property tax breaks or refunds are currently available to seniors 65 and older in New Jersey?
— Senior

A. Property taxes in the state are generally high, which is especially hard for senior citizens who live on a fixed income.

New Jersey does indeed provide several property tax breaks for residents who are 65 or older.

One is the Senior Freeze property tax reimbursement program.

To qualify for the 2021 Freeze, the homeowner must meet several requirements, said Neil Becourtney, a certified public accountant and tax partner with CohnReznick in Holmdel.

You must be age 65 or older on Dec. 31, 2020, or receiving federal Social Security disability benefit payments on or before that date. You also must have owned and lived in your home as a principal residence since Dec. 31, 2017, and your property taxes must be paid in full.

There are also income limits, he said.

Total income combined if married or in a civil union and living in the same home for 2020 can’t exceed $92,969 and $94,178 for 2021. For this purpose, various nontaxable income sources such as Social Security benefits are included, Becourtney said.

The deadline for the 2021 Senior Freeze application is Oct. 31, 2022.

Then there’s the Homestead Rebate Program, which has also been in place for many years. It was recently overhauled in the state budget agreement, Becourtney said, and renamed the Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters Tax Relief Program, or ANCHOR.

The program also applies only to a principal residence owned in New Jersey.

“The tax benefit will be realized in the form of a credit on property tax bills: $1,500 for those with household income under $150,000, and $1,000 for those with household income between $150,000 and $250,000,” Becourtney said. “There is no longer a distinction for being 65 years of age or older.”

Also, he said, New Jersey homeowners continue to be entitled to claim an income tax deduction of up to $15,000 for the real estate taxes paid on their New Jersey principal residence regardless of their age.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 3, 2022. 

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