Can I get the Senior Freeze after selling my N.J. home?
Q. I have been a part of the Senior Freeze program for many years and am grateful for the benefit. I sold my home and closed on Dec. 28, 2020 and paid the real estate taxes on the house for the entire year. I was told I am ineligible to receive a reimbursement because I did not own the house until Dec. 31, 2020. Is this correct? I did not buy another property and am currently renting an apartment.
A. The rules for the Senior Freeze are very specific and they can be confusing.
As you know, New Jersey has one of the highest property taxes in the nation.
This may be especially burdensome for senior citizens and the disabled who may be on a fixed income, said Bernie Kiely, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Kiely Capital Management in Morristown.
He said the State of New Jersey instituted the Senior Freeze program in an effort to help seniors and the disabled.
The state recently announced it had that New Jersey seniors and disabled persons who are homeowners now have until Feb. 1, 2021 to file their 2019 Senior Freeze applications, he said.
According to New Jersey’s website, the following are the eligibility requirements for the 2020 Senior Freeze:
You (or your spouse/civil union partner were 65 or older on Dec. 31, 2019. Or you were receiving federal Social Security Disability payments.
You lived in New Jersey continuously since Dec. 31, 2008 or earlier as a homeowner or a renter.
You owned and lived in your home since Dec. 31, 2015 or earlier and you owned and lived in that home on Dec. 31, 2019.
The 2018 property taxes due on your home must have been paid by June 1, 2019 and the 2019 property taxes must be paid by June 1, 2020.
Your total annual income was $89,013 or less for 2018 and $91,505 or less for 2019.
“You meet the Dec. 31, 2019 time requirement for living in your home,” Kiely said. “Unfortunately, when the 2021 Senior Freeze comes along (for 2020), you won’t be eligible because you moved out of your home three days too soon.”
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Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com’s weekly e-newsletter.