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Mazzeo, Pinkin & Mukherji Bill to Establish Interest-Free Extension for Property Tax Payments After Natural Disasters Gains Panel OK

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, Nancy Pinkin and Raj Mukherji sponsored to give a brief reprieve to property taxpayers after natural disasters was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.

“After Hurricane Sandy, many of our state’s residents found that the homes they had lived in and the businesses they had owned for years suddenly were uninhabitable. Some reasonably decided that putting their lives back together was more immediate than sorting out their property tax payments, and the penalties they faced just put another burden on their shoulders,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “In anticipation of the next disaster of that magnitude, it’s important that we implement a buffer for those struggling to recover.”

The bill (A-3052) would prohibit municipalities from charging interest on late property tax payments after a natural disaster that results in the governor declaring a state of emergency. The provisions of the legislation would apply when the natural disaster occurs less than 30 days before a property tax payment is payable. Interest would not be charged provided a taxpayer makes his or her payment on or before the first day of the next calendar month from the date upon which the property tax installment became payable.

Property taxes are payable on Feb. 1, May 1, Aug. 1 and Nov. 1.

“Some homeowners and business owners across New Jersey who suffered during Sandy were preoccupied with the immediate issues they faced responding to the devastation from the storm. One of the things government can assist with is to provide a brief grace period to meet tax deadlines,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This measure will help give our residents relief to get back on their feet and gain some peace of mind during times of crisis.”

“Between checking in on friends and neighbors, navigating insurance and just trying to plan past the devastation, New Jersey residents simply were overwhelmed after Hurricane Sandy,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “This measure is one way to help the people of this state avoid financial ruin in the event of an emergency.”

Current law authorizes municipalities to allow a 10-day grace period during which no interest on property tax installments may be charged.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee.