An Assembly panel on Monday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton and Wayne DeAngelo that would transform the senior freeze property tax rebate program from a reimbursement program into a credit program for most eligible homeowners.
“By administering this rebate program the same way we do the homestead property tax credit program, not only will it deliver savings to eligible senior and disabled residents in their current tax year will, but it will also save taxpayer dollars by cutting administrative costs to the state,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Given the hefty burden that property taxes pose, real-time relief is what we need to be striving for.”
Specifically, the bill (A-4608) would allow most eligible homeowners to realize the senior freeze benefit savings in the current year in the form of a credit directly applied to their third and fourth quarter property tax bills.
“For seniors and disabled residents, in particular, who often live on a tight, fixed budget, a direct credit applied to their current year tax bill would be a welcome reprieve rather than having to pay their property taxes and wait for an eventual rebate,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex).
Additionally, the bill adds good cause extensions for late claims when the applicant provides the director either medical evidence, such as a doctor’s certification, that the applicant was unable to file the claim by the date prescribed by the director because of illness or hospitalization, or evidence that the applicant attempted to file a timely application.
However, eligible homeowners who reside in a unit in a cooperative, mutual housing corporation, or continuing care retirement community, and who do not pay property taxes directly to the municipality, would receive a rebate payment instead of a credit directly applied to the applicable property tax bill. These rebates would be paid during the current tax year for which the senior freeze benefit is sought so that these homeowners also do not have to wait until the next year to receive their senior freeze benefit.
The measure was approved by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee chaired by Singleton.