(TRENTON) – Receiving unanimous approval by the full Assembly in February, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey (Both D-Monmouth) to make it easier for homeowners to find their information for the Homestead Property Tax Reimbursement Program application now awaits consideration in the Senate.
The Assembly approved the bipartisan-sponsored measure on February 15, 72-0.
“For the past 8 years, New Jersey homeowners have faced either reduced or delayed Homestead rebate payments,’ said Houghtaling. “We can simplify the process of applying for property tax relief so that it is less of a burden for working families to do so. Hopefully, this legislation can lead to a more streamlined process for taxpayers applying for the Homestead Property Tax Reimbursement Program.”
The Homestead Property Tax Reimbursement Program provides property taxpayers with a refund of the difference between property taxes paid in the base year, the first year in which a taxpayer becomes eligible to participate in the program, and the year for which an eligible claimant seeks reimbursement.
The intent of the legislation is to allow the Division of Taxation to easily verify property tax information that is required annually by eligible claimants seeking a homestead property tax reimbursement without requiring that claimants seek information and assistance from their local tax collectors to fill out the application.
“Currently, the property tax payment data is not entered into MOD IV, the current statewide property tax database,” said Downey. “With this bill, the Division of Taxation will easily be able to verify property tax information for eligible homeowners seeking a homestead property tax reimbursement. By organizing this data, we remove the hassle for residents of going to local tax collectors for the information.”
The bill requires the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury to examine the feasibility of establishing, for the administration of the homestead property tax reimbursement program, a centralized property tax data system that would assist the division in verifying the amount of property tax paid on any homestead in any base year, and in any year for which an eligible claimant seeks a reimbursement.
The director, under the bill, would prepare a written report explaining his findings and must transmit that report to the Governor and the Legislature, no later than six months following the effective date of the bill.
If the director concludes that a centralized property tax data system is feasible, the report must include the director’s recommendations for any changes to statutory law or to regulations to implement the system. If the director determines that no changes to statutory law or to regulations are necessary to implement a centralized property tax data system, the director must implement the system no later than the first day of the fourth month next following the date of the director’s transmission of the report to the Governor and the Legislature.
The Assembly State and Local Committee approved the measure on February 1. It has been referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.