I moved back to N.J. When can I get the Senior Freeze?

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Q. I lived in New Jersey from 1953 to 2002. Then I moved to Florida for 11 years. In 2014, I moved back to New Jersey, bought a house and have been living in this home since. My husband and I are both over 65. The residency requirement is somewhat confusing. I have 19 years continuous in New Jersey, then 12 years in Florida, and now 9 years continuous in New Jersey. Will New Jersey count my earlier time frame to fulfill the residency requirement for the Senior Freeze?
— Homeowner

A. Welcome back to the Garden State.

The Senior Freeze reimburses a homeowner for hikes in property taxes over the “base year” on a principal residence.

The base year is the property tax amount for the year in which one first meets all eligibility requirements, said Neil Becourtney, a certified public accountant and tax director with Smolin, Lupin & Co. in Red Bank.

The other eligibility requirements in addition to home ownership are that one spouse is 65 or older, you must have paid your real estate taxes and you cannot exceed the income limit, which for 2022 was $99,735, he said.

“Normally when one moves into New Jersey they are not eligible for this program for 10 years,” Becourtney said. “However, if a homeowner was a New Jersey resident continuously for at least 10 years and both applied for and were eligible for a property tax reimbursement for property taxes paid for the last full tax year that the previous home was occupied, they can enter the program after three years of residing in another New Jersey residence that they own.”

This rule only applies where one moves from one New Jersey residence to another New Jersey residence, he said.

“Your Florida residency period preceding your current New Jersey residency period precludes you from using this rule,” he said.

Once you reach 10 years of New Jersey residency, which for you would be in 2024, you should call the Senior Freeze Information Line at (800) 882-6597 to have the application form sent to you.

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This story was originally published on March 13, 2023.

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