NJ homeowners, renters could receive ‘Anchor’ tax relief in 2023


NJ Spotlight News

June 15, 2022: Gov. Phil Murphy announces agreement with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Nick Scutari on property-tax relief measures.


Homeowners and renters throughout the state will be sent key application information beginning this week about New Jersey’s newest direct property tax relief program, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration announced Monday.

In addition to mailing out the instructions for the “Anchor” relief program, which beefs up the size of state-funded relief benefits compared to prior years, the administration said it set Dec. 30 as the deadline for receiving applications.

Applications are now being accepted online, over the phone or via mail using forms that can be downloaded from the Department of Treasury, officials said. Meanwhile, Treasury’s Division of Taxation is also hosting an online seminar this week to help residents learn more about the Anchor program and other state-funded property-tax relief offerings.

The Anchor program was established earlier this year when Gov. Phil Murphy enacted a record $50.7 billion annual budget. Benefits are scheduled to be provided by the administration via a direct credit on tax bills, a check or direct deposit no later than May 2023, according to Treasury officials.

“At its core, Anchor demonstrates the commitment this administration made since day one to build a more affordable New Jersey,” Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said in a news release issued by her department on Monday.

“This program pushes us closer to that goal,” she said.

Making Anchor permanent

Still, it remains to be seen whether the Anchor program will be extended beyond the current budget year. Murphy and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature have indicated they intend for it to be a permanent replacement for the state’s longstanding Homestead relief program.

Under language written into the state budget, Murphy and lawmakers agreed to provide Anchor benefits totaling $1,500 to an estimated 870,000 homeowners with annual incomes totaling up to $150,000.

Another nearly 300,000 homeowners with incomes between $150,000 and $250,000 will be eligible to receive benefits totaling $1,000.

Thousands of renters are also newly eligible to receive Anchor benefits totaling $450. Budget cuts enacted about a decade ago in response to the 2007-2009 Great Recession had previously made renters ineligible to receive state-funded property-tax relief.

The latest state budget also requires homeowners and renters to have occupied their primary residence on Oct. 1, 2019, to be eligible to receive Anchor benefits.

The size of the promised Anchor benefits represents a significant increase compared to those provided by the state in previous years through the now-shuttered Homestead relief program. The annual income ceiling has also been increased compared to those used for distributing Homestead benefits, helping to boost the total amount of residents who are eligible to receive a benefit.

Record-high property taxes

Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders have indicated that the new program is aimed at addressing ever-rising New Jersey property tax bills. The average bill hit a record-high total of $9,284 last year, according to data compiled by the Department of Community Affairs.

Since 2011, average bills have gone up by more than $1,500 before adjusting for inflation, according to a NJ Spotlight News analysis.

Earlier this year, New Jersey saw an unprecedented surge in tax revenue, putting Murphy and lawmakers in a position to hike annual spending on direct property-tax relief benefits to roughly $2 billion, a level not seen since the mid-2000s.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) called the Anchor program a “game-changer for folks who have had to stretch their budgets further and further.”

“The next critical step in receiving these benefits is to ensure you apply,” Coughlin said in the news release.

“The support goes directly to residents, helping to make their lives more affordable,” said Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union).

Online tax relief seminar

More information about the Anchor program is available at nj.gov/treasury/taxation/anchor/ or by calling 1-888-238-1233.

The online seminar on Anchor and other state-funded property-tax relief programs will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Advanced registration is required.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-09-13 03:00:01 -0700