A Superstorm Sandy-related bill to permit a short-term tax exemption for improvements to certain homes damaged by natural disasters received the unanimous approval of the New Jersey Senate at a recent voting session.
Legislation by Holzapfel, Wolfe, and McGuckin would allow municipalities to provide short-term tax exemptions for home improvements in areas damaged by natural disasters. (Wikimedia Commons)
The sponsors, Senator James Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin, introduced the bill to ensure that property taxpayers aren’t penalized for increased value that may arise from raising their homes.
“Residents had no choice but to rebuild following Superstorm Sandy,” said Holzapfel. “They shouldn’t be penalized with higher property taxes for necessary improvements that will offer protection from future storms.”
The bill, S-3016, would amend the “Five-year Exemption and Abatement Law” to permit a municipality to adopt an ordinance providing a property tax exemption or abatement for a period of five years to homes in an area that has been damaged by a natural disaster.
Under the legislation, any additional value that’s attributable to the creation of new space under a house due to the home being lifted shall not be taxable for a period of five years.
“In some cases, enhancements such as home elevation are required by insurance companies to prevent damage from a future natural disaster,” added Assemblyman Wolfe. “We’re working to ensure that assessments stay the same following such necessary improvements, unless a home is rebuilt larger.”
Starting with the 2015/16 tax year, owners that rebuild or repair Hurricane Sandy damage may qualify for an adjustment to their property values. The legislation caps how much a property’s assessed value can be increased due to improvements made to fix a home that was damaged in the storm.
“Even with numerous grant programs available, residents have had to reach into their own pockets, spending tens of thousands of dollars to get back into their homes,” added McGuckin. “Increased property taxes are not the type of ‘Welcome Home’ we want to extend to our constituents.”
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