Senior Real Property Tax Freeze

joan_crystal

Too few seniors know about the Senior Freeze program that can help guard against increases in real property taxes.  Following is text of a letter I just received from our representative in the 27th Legislative District. Please pass the word to anyone who has neither read the letter nor seen this post.

"To be enrolled in the program and receive the benefit, you must first file to establish your 'base year' (that is the year in which you become eligible for the program), it is not the same as the income levels required to actually receive the benefit.

You should file to establish your eligibility and protect your right to receive benefits, if your income was less than $87,007 in 2015 and [less than] $87,007 in 2016.

To receive the reimbursement benefit for 2016 (the increases accrued since your base year), however, your income must be $70,000 or less in 2016 and you must also meet [each of] the requirements listed below:

You were age 65 or older as of December 31, 2015 or receiving Social Security disability  benefits.
You have lived in NJ continuously since December 31, 2005, or earlier, as either a homeowner or a renter.
You have owned and lived in your home since December 31, 2012 or earlier.
Your 2015 property taxes were paid in full before June 1, 2016 and 2016 property taxes were paid in full before June 1, 2017.

All eligible senior citizens and disabled individuals are strongly encouraged to promptly apply before the October 18, 2017 Property Tax Reimbursement application deadline.

If you filed a Senior Freeze application before the original June 1, 2017 deadline was extended and have not received a reimbursement, would like a 2016 application, or need assistance in determining your eligibility, you can call the New Jersey Department of Treasury's Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at 1-800-882-6597."


Red_Barchetta

I wonder how many households there are who are under both age 65 and $70k.


sprout

Thanks, Joan.  I just sent the info to my parents. I'm not sure if they were aware of it.

I found the website here:

http://www.state.nj.us/treasur...


joan_crystal


Red_Barchetta said:

I wonder how many households there are who are under both age 65 and $70k.

I know seniors in town who are already taking advantage of this program.  There are others who are unaware of the program and would qualify for it if they knew about it and applied.  I have heard rumors that the program may be in danger of ending soon.  All the more reason why it is urgent for those who meet the qualification requirements to file now, while applications are still being accepted. 


kthnry


joan_crystal said:


You have lived in NJ continuously since December 31, 2005, or earlier, as either a homeowner or a renter.

Does this date ever change? If not, I will never be eligible even though I've lived here 10 years and will be 65 in 5 years.


sac


Red_Barchetta said:

I wonder how many households there are who are under both age 65 and $70k.

But they are supposed to be older than 65, not younger.


finnegan

Thank you Joan. I sent the information to a few elderly relatives.  

I see that the program, despite being named by the state "Senior Freeze," is not just for seniors but also for disabled individuals who receive SSD. I hope that individuals with disabilities who are not seniors will not overlook this opportunity on account of the way it has been named...


thechamp

Who can afford to live in Mpl or SO and pay 18-20k in taxes on an income of $87k.  This program is a joke, so let's call it what it is.  If there is a real desire to help seniors, start by cutting the cost of government.


joan_crystal


sac said:



Red_Barchetta said:

I wonder how many households there are who are under both age 65 and $70k.

But they are supposed to be older than 65, not younger.

Seniors aged 65 or older OR disabled persons who can be under age 65 and still qualify.


spontaneous


Red_Barchetta said:

I wonder how many households there are who are under both age 65 and $70k.

If your income is under $70k, and you're under age 65 and not disabled, then you're out of luck.  However, you can try the Ramen Noodles For Dinner Plan, RNFDP for short, to save enough money to stay in your home. 


joan_crystal


finnegan said:

Thank you Joan. I sent the information to a few elderly relatives.  

I see that the program, despite being named by the state "Senior Freeze," is not just for seniors but also for disabled individuals who receive SSD. I hope that individuals with disabilities who are not seniors will not overlook this opportunity on account of the way it has been named...

If anyone reading this thread knows of a person receiving social security disability payments who might qualify for this program, I hope s/he will pass on this information.


Tom_R


thechamp said:

Who can afford to live in Mpl or SO and pay 18-20k in taxes on an income of $87k.  This program is a joke, so let's call it what it is.  If there is a real desire to help seniors, start by cutting the cost of government.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, we could eliminate the School District's assessment on qualifying residents.

TomR


joan_crystal

As I understand it, this is a subsidy program.  The school district/county/town still get the full amount of tax based on current real property valuation; but, the qualifying senior or disabled individual pays only the amount s/he paid on the year the freeze was put in place.

Tom_R said:



thechamp said:

Who can afford to live in Mpl or SO and pay 18-20k in taxes on an income of $87k.  This program is a joke, so let's call it what it is.  If there is a real desire to help seniors, start by cutting the cost of government.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, we could eliminate the School District's assessment on qualifying residents.

TomR



annielou

Which is still way too much for many. I'm wondering what the average discount is. 


sac


joan_crystal said:

As I understand it, this is a subsidy program.  The school district/county/town still get the full amount of tax based on current real property valuation; but, the qualifying senior or disabled individual pays only the amount s/he paid on the year the freeze was put in place.
Tom_R said:



thechamp said:

Who can afford to live in Mpl or SO and pay 18-20k in taxes on an income of $87k.  This program is a joke, so let's call it what it is.  If there is a real desire to help seniors, start by cutting the cost of government.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, we could eliminate the School District's assessment on qualifying residents.

TomR

That's the way it worked for my parents in Texas, but only for the school portion of their taxes.  However, there was no income test.  It was in effect as of age 65 for all homeowners, as long as they stayed in the same house.  (We didn't sell the house until they were 87 and 89, so they were getting a real bargain by then.)

I don't agree that the school district tax should be eliminated for anyone, but some adjustment or subsidy makes sense.  Long-term, though, this is not just a problem for Seniors but for all taxpayers and it won't be resolved unless there is some real tax reform.  However, that would mean that higher income people and/or businesses would pay more than they do now and there are powerful political forces against that.


Tom_R

sac,

Idle curiosity, if you'll allow:

Did your parents forfeit their right to vote in District elections, and upon other matters concerning the District?

If I recall correctly, that was the trade-off for the voters in the Districts of which I read. (I think in Oregon or Washington).

Thanks in advance.

TomR


mikescott

Unless we completely change the property tax system and how public education is funded, a freeze will not mean much and for every dime a senior saves, it means someone else is paying.  

Taxation based on income makes more sense but Florio tried leading us down that path and it was met with great resistance.  


sac


Tom_R said:

sac,

Idle curiosity, if you'll allow:

Did your parents forfeit their right to vote in District elections, and upon other matters concerning the District?

If I recall correctly, that was the trade-off for the voters in the Districts of which I read. (I think in Oregon or Washington).

Thanks in advance.

TomR

I don't believe that there was any trade-off at all.  They certainly never mentioned anything like that.  But this is pursuant to a Texas state law, so I'm sure that anyone who wants to know the details could find out.


Tom_R

sac,

Thanks for the information.

As I wrote, it was just curiosity.

TomR


Tom_R


mikescott said:

Unless we completely change the property tax system and how public education is funded, a freeze will not mean much and for every dime a senior saves, it means someone else is paying.  

Taxation based on income makes more sense but Florio tried leading us down that path and it was met with great resistance.  

If we change the property tax system and go from a flat tax  to an income based, progressive tax system; wouldn't that be another way of saving somebody a dime, and requiring another person to pay that dime?

TomR


kthnry


Tom_R said:



mikescott said:

Unless we completely change the property tax system and how public education is funded, a freeze will not mean much and for every dime a senior saves, it means someone else is paying.  

Taxation based on income makes more sense but Florio tried leading us down that path and it was met with great resistance.  

If we change the property tax system and go from a flat tax  to an income based, progressive tax system; wouldn't that be another way of saving somebody a dime, and requiring another person to pay that dime?

TomR

I don't think that's necessarily true. NJ's income taxes are low and property taxes are high compared to a lot of other places, and it seems to work. 

Here in Texas, where there is no income tax and property taxes are accordingly quite high, people refuse to even consider an income tax until they reach retirement and realize it might have been better if they'd paid more in the form of income taxes during their working years in exchange for lower property taxes during retirement.


joan_crystal


kthnry said:



Tom_R said:



mikescott said:

Unless we completely change the property tax system and how public education is funded, a freeze will not mean much and for every dime a senior saves, it means someone else is paying.  

Taxation based on income makes more sense but Florio tried leading us down that path and it was met with great resistance.  

If we change the property tax system and go from a flat tax  to an income based, progressive tax system; wouldn't that be another way of saving somebody a dime, and requiring another person to pay that dime?

TomR

I don't think that's necessarily true. NJ's income taxes are low and property taxes are high compared to a lot of other places, and it seems to work. 

Here in Texas, where there is no income tax and property taxes are accordingly quite high, people refuse to even consider an income tax until they reach retirement and realize it might have been better if they'd paid more in the form of income taxes during their working years in exchange for lower property taxes during retirement.

If public education is paid for in full through State income taxes, wouldn't that cause State income taxes to go up exponentially to cover the additional cost to the State?  Before advocating moving to a State income tax funded system, we need to consider the average income of persons in Maplewood/South Orange as compared with the average income of residents in other parts of the State. The end result could be the average Maplewood State income taxpayer paying more in combined taxes than we do now.  We would also have to consider the way in which such State funding would be distributed.  We could end up with less funding for the Maplewood/South Orange School District than what we collect now through real property taxes. There are no easy answers.




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