This post, authored by Claudia Mott, originally appeared on NJMoneyhelp.com
Q. I have been in the New Jersey Senior Freeze program for several years. My township is undergoing a townwide property evaluation. I have no property improvements. Will there be any negative impact on my Senior Freeze payments? In other words, will my base year tax level change?
A. Let’s start with the basics.
The Senior Freeze is a benefit that is available to New Jersey residents who are age 65 or older or who are receiving federal Social Security disability benefit payments as of December 31, 2019.
There are a number of factors that must be met in order to qualify for the Senior Freeze, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.
“Age and income are two of them, but how long you’ve lived in your residence or mobile home also matters. As a rule, there is a three-year residency requirement,” she said. “Generally, in order to be eligible, you must have lived in your home prior to December 31, 2016 and remained in the home through December 21, 2020.”
The additional requirements to apply for the Senior Freeze include:
· Being a continuous resident of New Jersey for at least the last 10 years, as either a homeowner or a renter.
· Property tax payments or mobile home site fees must be up-to-date.
· Total annual income limit for 2019 is $91,505 and for 2020 it is $92,969. This limit applies regardless of your marital or civil union status as long as you both lived in the same household as of December 31.
In the event that the townwide property assessment results in a lowering of your property taxes, you will likely miss a year of receiving your payment if the new value is lower than your base year tax amount, Mott said after confirming with the Senior Freeze hotline.
“The program pays eligible Seniors the difference between the amount of the base and current property taxes,” she said. “However, you can file a new PTR-1 the following year and the revised tax value will become your new base assuming you still meet the other eligibility requirements.”
Going forward, your annual property tax assessment will be compared to the updated base amount and you will receive the difference, she said.
Even with no improvements to the property, your assessed value could result in an increase in your property taxes, Mott said.
“In that situation, the difference would be positive and you should continue to receive a benefit as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements and file the application annually,” she said.
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This story was originally published on Nov. 10, 2021.
NJMoneyHelp.com 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.