Homeowners Urged to Meet Oct. 31 Deadline for Applying

TRENTON, NJ – State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff  reminds taxpayers to file their applications for the Homestead Benefit and the Senior Freeze property tax relief programs before the Oct. 31 deadline.

“Additional funds for both programs are available this year and in these difficult economic times it makes sense for every eligible taxpayer to claim the property tax relief they are due,” the Treasurer said.

Hands-on management of resources allowed Governor Chris Christie to sign off on a budget this year that greatly expanded eligibility for the state’s property tax relief programs compared to Fiscal 2011.  The average Senior Freeze payment this year is estimated at $1,152.59, and more seniors are eligible to receive the benefit this year than last. The average Homestead credit is estimated at $475, double last year’s figure.

 “Taxpayers must file their applications before the Oct. 31 deadline to claim their benefits,”  Sidamon-Eristoff said.

To be eligible for the Homestead Benefit, you must have owned and occupied a home in New Jersey that was your principal residence as of Oct. 1, 2010. In addition, you must have had property taxes which were due and paid on the property during 2010, and you must have earned $150,000 or less in 2010 if you were age 65 or older or blind or disabled, and $75,000 or less in 2010 if you were under age 65 and not blind or disabled. Homeowners who meet the eligibility requirements will receive a credit on their February tax bills based on property taxes paid in 2010.

Residents who do not have an application or who need assistance can call the Homestead Benefit Hotline (1‑888‑238‑1233) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Homeowners who qualify will receive their Homestead Benefit as a credit on their February 2012 property tax bill. After January 1, 2012, these homeowners can expect to receive a revised property tax bill or an advice copy from their tax collector that reflects the amount of the credit.

The Division of Taxation began mailing Property Tax Reimbursement (Senior Freeze) applications in February, and most eligible citizens have already filed. Those who haven’t still have ample time to take advantage of the opportunity to freeze their property tax bills.

Eligible homeowners who have not yet filed can do so until Oct. 31 either online at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/ or by phone (1‑877‑658‑2972) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Property Tax Reimbursement (Senior Freeze) applicants can call the Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at 1‑800‑882‑6597 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays to speak to a Taxation representative for assistance, to get information on the status of their reimbursement checks if they have already filed, or to request an application.

Information about the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze programs, as well as other New Jersey property tax relief programs, is available on the Division of Taxation’s Web site at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/relief.shtml.