I’ve lived in N.J. for a year. Can I get tax breaks?

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Q. I’ve lived in N.J. for a year. Can I get tax breaks?
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A. Welcome to New Jersey — home to the highest real estate taxes in the nation.

The good news is that there are some real estate tax benefits available to military veterans and senior citizens.

If you are a veteran in the State of New Jersey you are entitled to a $250 reduction of your real estate taxes on your primary residence, said Bernie Kiely, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Kiely Capital Management in Morristown.

To be eligible, you must have been honorably discharged and served on active duty, beyond boot-camp, in the U.S. Armed Forces, he said. You must file the appropriate paperwork including a copy of your Honorable Discharge Certificate with your local real estate tax assessor, he said.

Seniors may be eligible for two real estate tax benefits, one of which is also available to non-seniors.

For seniors and certain disabled people, the Senior Freeze program is a property tax reimbursement program, Kiely said.

“The Senior Freeze program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence,” he said. “To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year through the application year.”

The Senior Freeze eligibility requirements for 2023 are that you must be 65 years old on the last day of the year, you must have owned your home for three years and your income, including Social Security, must be $150,000 or less, he said.

Then there’s an ANCHOR property tax program, which doesn’t have any age requirements.

“The 2023 program was based on 2019 real estate tax payments,” he said. “To qualify you had to have owned or rented your principal residence on Oct 1, 2019, and met the 2019 gross income limits.”

Those maxed out at $250,000 for homeowners and $150,000 for renters $150,000.

For the coming year, which covers the 2020 tax year benefit, there will be a $250 increase in payments. Renters with income of $150,000 or less will get $700, homeowners making less than $150,000 will get $1,750 and those making between $150,000 and $250,000 would get $1,250.

We expect the residency requirement to be as of Oct. 1, 2020 for this benefit.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 11, 2023.

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