TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner and Senator Patrick Diegnan addressing property tax relief and government transparency for New Jersey residents cleared the full Senate yesterday.
The first bill, S-1744, sponsored by Senator Turner, would require that tax bills, or the forms mailed with tax bills, include information listing the eligibility requirements for the various State property tax relief programs. The provisions of the bill require the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs to compile the list and provide each tax collector with inserts containing a listing of eligibility requirements for the various State property tax relief programs in effect for the tax year.
“It’s frustrating for homeowners to learn that they qualified for a property tax relief program and could have benefited and saved money for years, had they known earlier about the program and applied,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “Our state offers a variety of property tax relief programs, but we need to do a better job of informing the public of how to access them. By providing detailed information to residents about their tax bills, we will help to keep the public informed of the programs available to them to begin to help lower their property tax costs.”
The second bill in the package is sponsored by Senator Diegnan. The bill, S-2452, requires the Director of Division of Taxation to promulgate a Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which would simplify in nontechnical terms the right of every property taxpayer so that they would understand their property assessment and how to appeal an assessment if a taxpayer believes it is too high. Further stipulations of the bill provide that a taxpayer has the right to understand the calculation of the assessment on their real property and the right to detailed information about how to appeal an assessment of real property.
“This bill will provide homeowners with information on the assessment and appeals process of their taxes, which will allow residents to take the appropriate steps should they disagree with the assessment provided,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Property taxes are a significant cost for homeowners, yet many residents misunderstand the assessment process. It is critical to know how the process works in order to make informed decisions.”
Both bills cleared the full Senate unanimously and will now head to the Assembly for further consideration.