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Wagner, Eustace & Gordon Measure Would Require Property Tax Relief Applications Be Made Available in Multiple Languages

TRENTON – Senator Bob Gordon has introduced legislation to make property tax relief programs more accessible to New Jersey residents by requiring that forms used to apply be made available in multiple languages. The Assembly version of the bill will be introduced by Assemblywoman Connie Wagner and Assemblyman Tim Eustace at the next Assembly quorum.

“New Jersey’s various property tax reimbursement programs are intended to provide a measure of financial relief to residents, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We have to make sure that everyone who is eligible receives their benefits. Making the applications more accessible to people of all communities will go a long way toward doing that. And since we already have an existing process for providing forms in multiple languages, there is no reason we shouldn’t use that process to better ensure that eligible residents receive the benefits they are entitled to.”

The bill would require forms for homestead property tax reimbursements, veterans’ property tax exemption, veterans’ property tax deduction and senior and disabled property tax deduction to be available in English as well as: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Korean. The Motor Vehicle Commission currently offers the Driver License Knowledge Test in all of the above languages except Korean. The same process for making government documents available in multiple languages could be used to produce application forms for property tax relief programs, and that process should also be able to identify a means by which to provide those forms in Korean, the legislators noted.

“The state’s property tax relief programs are critical to New Jersey residents, and making sure that all eligible residents have access to the tax-relief benefits that are offered has remained a top priority for us,” said Assemblywoman Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Providing tax documents in a variety of languages, under a process that is already used by the Motor Vehicle Commission, is another way to ensure that residents get the tax relief they deserve.”

“The programs offered to seniors and those with disabilities, to veterans and to other property tax payers provide much-needed financial relief, especially in these difficult economic times. Anything we can do to make the benefits more accessible, we should be doing,” said Assemblyman Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Expanding the types of documents that are available in multiple languages to property tax relief forms just makes sense, particularly since certain state documents are already being offered in up to ten languages.”

The law would take effect January 1st following enactment; however, the Division of Taxation, in consultation with the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, could adopt regulations and promulgate forms immediately to effectuate the provisions of the act.