I missed a Senior Freeze deadline and my benefit dropped. What can I do?

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Q. I missed the Senior Freeze deadline for the 2021 tax year. I still filed but was denied. I made sure I didn’t make that mistake in 2022 and I filed on time. I used to get close to $1,000 as a benefit, but this time I only received $97. Nothing has changed for my income and I still meet all the qualifications. It seems like they’re only giving me the difference from how much my taxes went up versus the $1,000 freeze they have given me in previous years. What can I do?
— Retired

A. This is all about your base year.

When you filed previously, your Senior Freeze was based on your tax from when you first filed for the benefit, and it established your base year. This is the year from which your Freeze benefit is calculated.

So when you filed late and your benefit was denied, your 2021 Senior Freeze application filed in 2022 was treated as an initial filing, said Neil Becourtney, a certified public accountant and tax director with Smolin, Lupin & Co. in Red Bank.

When you received the check, it was for a more recent time period and not from the older time period, or your initial base year.

Form PTR-1 is filed by applicants seeking a reimbursement for the first time, while Form PTR-2 is a personalized application mailed by the Division of Taxation to homeowners that met all the eligibility requirements for reimbursement the previous year, Becourtney said.

“It is conceivable that the state sent you a Form PTR-1 for 2021 instead of a Form PTR-2,” he said.

As an aside, the state began mailing 2022 Senior Freeze form booklets in mid-February. The deadline for 2022 applications is Oct. 31, 2023.

Your best bet is to call the Senior Freeze hotline at (800) 882-6597 to discuss your situation.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on March 3, 2023.

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