I just returned from helping neighbors fill out veteran and senior citizen applications for property tax deductions and I was struck once again by the fact that so many residents of New Jersey are not aware of these $250 annual deductions– although they have been state law for more than 50 years.
I have had the same reaction when I've spoken to seniors groups and I could tell from their facial expressions that they had no idea they were eligible for the deduction — or that it even existed. This was especially true of the surviving spouses of veterans, who are eligible for the deduction.
And when I think of my neighbor, who grew up in Cape May County and has been getting the veteran's deduction for about six years — 44 years after he became eligible — I get angry all over again. He didn't get the deduction because he didn't know it existed. Communities then and now do not "advertise" the availability of the deductions, although it does not cost them a cent except for the bookkeeping. The State of New Jersey reimburses them for the $250 deductions.
Applications for the deductions are available at the tax assessor's or tax collector's office in local communities and some communities have information and/or applications online on their website, but you have to go to "departments" and then "tax assessor" or "tax collector" to get the information.
It is time for the veterans organizations and senior centers throughout the state, as well as local communities, to make eligible veterans and senior citizens aware of the deductions to which they are entitled. It is the law!
For more information about property tax deductions, read Eligible for a Property Tax Deduction?, Tax Breaks for Veterans and Seniors and Why Don't NJ Municipalities Talk About Property Tax Deductions?