The Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC) is notifying the community about an important program that provides property tax relief for seniors and disabled individuals who own homes in New Jersey. For applicants who are eligible to receive 2016 property tax relief under the Property Tax Reimbursement (“Senior Freeze”) Program, the benefit amount will be the difference between your 2015 and 2016 property tax bills (assuming that your 2016 bill was higher). The application deadline to receive reimbursement for 2016 is June 1, 2017. Applications can be picked up from the LRRC at 212 2nd Street Suite 204 or accessed here: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/ptr/ptr1.pdf

ELIGIBILITY

The Senior Freeze Program is available to low- and moderate-income people who are 66 and older OR federal Social Security Disability (SSD) recipients. In order to be eligible, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must have been 65 or older as of December 31, 2015 OR were actually receiving SSD benefits on or before December 31, 2015 and on or before December 31, 2016. (You are not eligible if you or your spouse was receiving the benefits on behalf of someone else.)
  • You must have lived in New Jersey continuously since December 31, 2005 or earlier, as either a homeowner or renter.
  • You must have paid the full balances of your 2015 and 2016 property taxes by June 1 of 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • Your total income in 2015 must have been $87,007 or less. Your total income in 2016 must have been $87,007 or less. (If you are married, you must combine your income with that of your spouse for this calculation.)
  • You must have owned and lived in your present home since December 31, 2012 or earlier. (If you moved to your current home between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014, AND you received reimbursement for the last full tax year during which you occupied your last home, you might be eligible to receive reimbursement for 2016. Visit http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/ptr2year.shtml to see if you qualify, then call 1-800-882-6597 for assistance with applying.)

Please note that you may not receive property tax relief through this program for a vacation home, a second home, a property you rent to someone else, a property that consists of more than four units or a property with more than one commercial unit.

You are also not eligible if you received a full exemption from paying property taxes as a totally and permanently disabled veteran or made P.I.L.O.T. payments (payments in lieu of taxes) to your municipality.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED INCOME?

Virtually all income is counted towards determining your eligibility for the Senior Freeze Program, including income that you are not required to report on your New Jersey income tax form. A few examples of things that are considered income:

  • Social Security benefits (including Medicare Part B premiums) paid to or on behalf of the applicant
  • Business profits, salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, fees and net rental income
  • Pension and retirement benefits (including annuity and IRA distributions)
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Public or private disability benefits
  • Taxable and exempt interest, dividends and capital gains
  • Inheritances

The following are examples of types of income that are not counted:

  • Reparation or restitution payments to Holocaust victims, as well as returns of property seized, lost or misappropriated as a result of Nazi actions
  • Benefit amounts received under the New Jersey State Lifeline Credit Program/Tenants Lifeline Assistance Program
  • New Jersey homestead, FAIR or SAVER rebates
  • Benefits received as property tax reimbursements
  • Proceeds received from a spouse’s life insurance policy
  • Rollovers from one financial instrument (e.g. an IRA) to another
  • Income tax refunds

HOW TO APPLY

You must file the 2016 Property Tax Reimbursement Application (Form PTR-1) on or before June 1, 2017. Applications postmarked on or before the due date are considered to have been filed on time. Send your completed application to:

NJ Division of Taxation
Revenue Processing Center
Property Tax Reimbursement
PO Box 635
Trenton, NJ 08646-0635

Make sure to include all documents that apply to you:

  • If you are 65 or older, you must submit proof of age with your application. This can be a copy of a driver’s license or birth certificate.
  • If you are not 65 or older but are an SSD recipient, you must submit a copy of the Social Security award letter indicating that you receive benefit payments. You do not qualify if you receive the SSD benefits on behalf of someone else.
  • Submit proof of the property tax amount that was due and paid. Include your property tax bills for 2015 and 2016, along with either copies of canceled checks/receipts for both years showing the amounts paid, or copies of Form 1098 for both years showing the amount of property taxes paid out of your escrow account. (If you are unable to locate these documents, you may submit a Form PTR-1A instead. This form can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/ptr/printform.shtml. Your local tax collector will have to complete and certify Part II of this form.)

Please note: The Homestead Rebate Program is a different property tax relief program that must be applied for separately. You can read about it here: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/homestead/geninf.shtml.