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2020 NJ ANCHOR Program Updates

In 2022, the State of New Jersey introduced the ANCHOR program, which looked back at taxpayers’ residency and income in 2019 to provide property tax and rent relief to residents of NJ. Now, NJ has begun mailing the 2020 NJ ANCHOR Program information to eligible homeowners and renters. You may be asking what steps you need to take next. We are here to outline those steps for you.

If you received the ANCHOR Benefit Confirmation Letter notifying you that you qualify for the program for 2020, and none of the information on that confirmation has changed since you filed your 2019 NJ ANCHOR Benefit, then no action is required on your part. If the state does not receive a response to that letter, they will file the application and pay out the benefit based on the prior year’s information. However, if you need to change any information – such as your bank account – you have until September 30, 2023, to file an updated application on your own.

What happens if you did not receive the NJ ANCHOR Benefit for 2019? If you are deemed eligible, you should receive application instructions either by postal mail or e-mail. The state has already started sending the application instructions to eligible residents. They are sending this information county by county, so please hold tight if you have not received anything yet but think you qualified. All application instructions will be sent by September 1, 2023. Applications for those who were ineligible for the 2019 benefit, but will qualify for the 2020 benefit, are due by December 29, 2023.

Homeowners should make sure not to discard these instructions as they will include an ID Number and PIN that you will need to access the online filing system. Homeowners will NOT be able to access the online filing system until they receive their ID Number and PIN on their mailer. Renters who received the benefit in 2019 will receive an ANCHOR Benefit Confirmation Letter similar to homeowners who previously qualified. NJ ANCHOR application instructions will not be automatically sent to first time qualifying renters for 2020, so if you rented property in NJ and meet all other criteria, be sure to fill out an online application. Renters will not need an ID Number or PIN to apply online for the 2020 NJ ANCHOR.

Be sure to carefully review the information on the mailer you receive before entering your ID Number and PIN. If any of the listed information is incorrect or has changed, including but not limited to the mailing address, you will be able to modify it. If you do not receive ANCHOR application instructions via mail or email by mid-September, you can call the ANCHOR hotline at 1-888-238-1233 for assistance in getting your ANCHOR ID and PIN. 

The application will be based on household income reported in 2020. The program is available to three separate categories of income levels: (1) homeowners with household income of less than $150,000, (2) homeowners with household income between $150,001 and $250,000, and (3) renters with income of up to $150,000. Homeowners with 2020 NJ gross income of less than $150,000 will be eligible for a $1,500 property tax rebate, and homeowners with 2020 NJ gross income between $150,001 and $250,000 will be eligible for a $1,000 rebate. Renters with NJ gross incomes of up to $150,000 will receive a rebate of $450. Homeowners with income above $250,000 as well as renters with income above $150,000 are not eligible for the 2020 NJ ANCHOR Program. If you were age 65 or older on December 31, 2020, you will receive an additional $250 benefit.

For those first-time filers, once you have gained access to the online filing system you should fill out the application electronically.  Alternatively, you can call 1-877-658-2972 to apply via telephone.  Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Valid taxpayer identification number and the taxpayer identification number of your spouse or civil union partner, if applicable
  • New Jersey gross income from Line 29 of your 2020 NJ-1040 (if you were not required to file an NJ-1040 in 2020, report $0.00).
  • 2020 tax return filing status
  • Date of birth and your spouse’s/CU partner’s date of birth, if applicable.

You will also be asked if:

  • You owned the property with someone who is not your spouse/CU partner. If yes, what percentage did you own?
  • The property had more than one unit. If yes, what percentage of the property did you use as your main home?

There are also some circumstances that may require you to file a paper application. For example, if you shared ownership of your main home with someone who was not your spouse/civil union partner and your percentage of ownership is not preprinted on your worksheet; your main home was a unit in a multi-unit property that you owned; or you received an ANCHOR information mailer for the correct property, but the name on the mailer is not yours or needs to be changed due to marriage, death, etc. For more instructions on how to file if you are required to file a paper application, please visit NJ Division of Taxation – ANCHOR Program. If you are still unsure of whether you need to file a paper application, or if you still have questions on the ANCHOR application, please contact our firm and we will be glad to assist you.

You can expect to receive payment approximately 90 days after filing the application unless additional information is needed to process your claim. This program will be beneficial to many New Jersey residents, and we strongly encourage each eligible taxpayer to take advantage of this benefit. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our firm at (732) 739-8800. As always, our goal at Eiger, Lang & Company, CPA, LLC is to make your life less taxing!