-- Governor James E. McGreevey and Division of Taxation Director
Robert K. Thompson announced today that they have extended the due
date for filing 2003 Property Tax Reimbursement (“Senior Property
Tax Freeze”) Applications, from June 1, 2004 to August 2, 2004.
Our tough fiscal decisions and sound economic policies have made
it possible to re-open the Senior Freeze program and make close to
100,000 additional taxpayers eligible for a reimbursement check this
year,” said Governor McGreevey. “In order to ensure that
our senior and disabled citizens can take full advantage of the positive
changes we’ve proposed for the program, we have an additional
change to offer – an extension of the filing deadline.”
Under the Property Tax Reimbursement Program, eligible senior citizens
and disabled persons are reimbursed by the State for the difference
between the amount of local property taxes paid in the “base
year” (the year they became eligible and first filed for the
program) and the amount of property taxes paid for the reimbursement
year. Income eligibility thresholds increased this year from $39,475
to $40,028 for single applicants and from $48,404 to $49,082 for
married applicants. Filers must continue to meet all eligibility
requirements and must file an application each year to receive the
Treasurer John McCormac noted that as originally proposed in February,
the Governor’s FY 2005 Budget more than doubled the funding
for the Senior Freeze program -- to $48 million -- providing 130,000
participants with a check this July, including about 50,000 who filed
last year but did not receive a check because the program was suspended
for new filers. Last week, Governor McGreevey and Treasurer McCormac
announced that an additional $20 million was available for the program
in FY 2005, which fully opens it and makes it possible for an estimated
45,000 who enroll in the program this year to collect their first
Senior Freeze check this summer, rather than waiting until July 2005. “Our
changes bring Senior Freeze funding to approximately $68 million
and ensure that all eligible and approved filers get a check this
summer,” McCormac said.
The 2003 reimbursement checks are scheduled to be mailed on or before
July 15, 2004. Because of the time needed for processing applications,
checks for eligible applicants who file after the original June 1,
2004, deadline will not be part of this general mid-July mailing.
Checks for applicants who file between June 1st and August 2nd will
be issued as quickly as possible.
Each year, the Division of Taxation receives numerous PTR applications
which are incomplete because required information or necessary documentation
was omitted. Applicants who filed incomplete applications will receive
information on how to correct the problem, according to Taxation
Director Robert K. Thompson. “The Division will be sending
notices requesting the required information from these applicants.
The sooner they return the requested information to us, the sooner
we can send them the benefits for which they are eligible. For the
clean applications we receive, Taxation can generally process and
issue a reimbursement check within three or four weeks. ”
After 25 years of a growing property tax crisis, Governor McGreevey
is now taking on the challenge of bringing fairness back to tax system.
Last month, in a joint session of the New Jersey State Legislature,
McGreevey unveiled his three-pronged FAIR plan, which provides immediate
property tax relief, requests a freeze on government spending, and
calls for a blueprint for lasting, long-term property tax reform.
Governor McGreevey’s FAIR plan calls for a 2.6 percent “millionaire’s
tax” which will only affect those New Jerseyans with an income
of $500,000 or more. Under this tax, a family earning $550,000 would
still get to keep $18,154 of its $19,000 President Bush tax cut.
The family would only lose $825, or less than 5 percent of its total
windfall. And yet, this “millionaire’s tax” will
raise an additional $800 million – which will be used to provide
direct property tax relief for New Jersey’s working families
and senior citizens. Ninety-three percent of the State’s property
taxpayers will receive a larger property tax relief check.
By doubling the direct property tax relief from $670 million to $1.5
maximum Homestead Rebate check for New Jersey’s senior
citizens will increase by 50 percent, from $775 to $1200.
1.17 million homeowners with incomes below $125,000 will receive
a rebate with a new maximum of $800.
more information on the extended filing of the 2003 Property Tax
Reimbursement, or to obtain an application, contact the Property
Tax Reimbursement Hotline at
1-800-882-6597. Information about the Program is also available on the Division
of Taxation’s Web site at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/propfrez.htm.
Photos and audio and video clips from Governor McGreevey’s
press conferences are available
in the Office of the Governor section on the State of New Jersey web page, http://www.nj.gov/.