by: Allan Zhang
2 Dec 2022

Back in June 2022, and again in September 2022, we informed you of a big change coming to the New Jersey property tax scene, the ANCHOR program (Affordable NJ Communities for Homeowners and Renters). Designed as a replacement to the Homestead Rebate Benefit program, ANCHOR officially kicked off in September with mailers being sent to residents with a deadline to apply of December 30, 2022. If you have not yet had an opportunity to apply for the ANCHOR program benefits, you are in luck because Governor Murphy not only extended application deadline, but also expanded the eligibility requirements. In a release from the Governor’s office, Governor Murphy stated that “In order to achieve meaningful relief for hard-working taxpayers, we must expand access and improve awareness of our efforts to promote affordability and opportunity in New Jersey.”

With approximately one month left before the Dec. 30 deadline to apply for ANCHOR benefits, Governor Murphy announced that the deadline would be extended through January 31, 2023. Additionally, the program was expanded to now permit renters who were previously ineligible due to their unit being subject to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement to apply. It appears the newly eligible have Middlesex County’s own Senator Joe Vitale to thank for the expansion of benefits:

“I am very grateful to the Governor, Senate President, Speaker and Treasurer for responding as quickly as they have to make renters in buildings with a PILOT eligible for the Anchor Program. I alerted them to the issue immediately after receiving a call from a constituent who pays market rate rent in a building whose occupancy is dedicated to veterans.  Within two weeks they are announcing a fix to the problem.  This is another great example of how one person’s decision to take action will make a difference for thousands of New Jersey renters and ensure this important tax relief reaches everyone it is intended to reach.”

Governor Murphy, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced that the State would now “embark on an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign to make sure every eligible New Jerseyan takes advantage of the sizable relief.” The Division of Taxation is currently soliciting proposals for a statewide marketing campaign in addition to the previous efforts made to increase awareness of the ANCHOR program. State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio stated “We have been working around the clock since ANCHOR’s launch in September to make sure every New Jersey resident is aware of this new program and to answer as many questions as possible.”

Compared to the Homestead Benefit program, those eligible under the ANCHOR program has increased substantially. Specifically, double the amount of homeowners and nearly one million tenants who previously had not been eligible for tax relief. “Over 870,000 homeowners with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $1,500 in relief; over 290,000 homeowners with incomes over $150,000 and up to $250,000 will receive $1,000; and over 900,000 renters with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $450 to help offset rent increases.” Payments will be issued by checks or direct deposits and are expected to begin going out in spring 2023. These payments are not subject to federal or state income tax.

For more details on eligibility or on how to sign up for the ANCHOR benefit please reference our June 2022 and September 2022 blog posts. Happy Saving!