CHAPTER 413

 

An Act concerning eligibility to receive a veteransí property tax deduction and a veteransí property tax exemption and revising various parts of the statutory law.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.1948, c.259 (C.54:4-3.30) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-3.30† Disabled veteranís exemption.

†††† 1. a. The dwelling house and the lot or curtilage whereon the same is erected, of any citizen and resident of this State, now or hereafter honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances, from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, who has been or shall be declared by the United States Department of Veteransí Affairs or its successor to have a service-connected disability from paraplegia, sarcoidosis, osteochondritis resulting in permanent loss of the use of both legs, or permanent paralysis of both legs and lower parts of the body, or from hemiplegia and has permanent paralysis of one leg and one arm or either side of the body, resulting from injury to the spinal cord, skeletal structure, or brain or from disease of the spinal cord not resulting from any form of syphilis; or from total blindness; or from amputation of both arms or both legs, or both hands or both feet, or the combination of a hand and a foot; or from other service-connected disability declared by the United States Veterans Administration or its successor to be a total or 100% permanent disability, and not so evaluated solely because of hospitalization or surgery and recuperation, sustained through enemy action, or accident, or resulting from disease contracted while in such active service, shall be exempt from taxation, on proper claim made therefor, and such exemption shall be in addition to any other exemption of such person's real and personal property which now is or hereafter shall be prescribed or allowed by the Constitution or by law but no taxpayer shall be allowed more than one exemption under this act.

†††† b. (1) The surviving spouse of any such citizen and resident of this State, who at the time of death was entitled to the exemption provided under this act, shall be entitled, on proper claim made therefor, to the same exemption as the deceased had, during the surviving spouse's widowhood or widowerhood, as the case may be, and while a resident of this State, for the time that the surviving spouse is the legal owner thereof and actually occupies the said dwelling house or any other dwelling house thereafter acquired.

†††† (2)†† The surviving spouse of any citizen and resident of this State who was honorably discharged and, after the citizen and resident's death, is declared to have suffered a service-connected disability as provided in subsection a. of this section, shall be entitled, on proper claim made therefor, to the same exemption the deceased would have become eligible for.† The exemption shall continue during the surviving spouse's widowhood or widowerhood, as the case may be, and while a resident of this State, for the time that the surviving spouse is the legal owner thereof and actually occupies the dwelling house or any other dwelling house thereafter acquired.

†††† c.†††† The surviving spouse of any citizen and resident of this State, who died in active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, shall be entitled, on proper claim made therefor, to an exemption from taxation on the dwelling house and lot or curtilage whereon the same is erected, during the surviving spouse's widowhood or widowerhood, as the case may be, and while a resident of this State, for the time that the surviving spouse is the legal owner thereof and actually occupies the said dwelling or any other dwelling house thereafter acquired.

†††† d.††† The surviving spouse of any citizen and resident of this State who died prior to January 10, 1972, that being the effective date of P.L.1971, c.398, and whose circumstances were such that, had said law become effective during the deceased's lifetime, the deceased would have become eligible for the exemption granted under this section as amended by said law, shall be entitled, on proper claim made therefor, to the same exemption as the deceased would have become eligible for upon the dwelling house and lot or curtilage occupied by the deceased at the time of death, during the surviving spouse's widowhood or widowerhood, as the case may be, and while a resident of this State, for the time that the surviving spouse is the legal owner thereof and actually occupies the said dwelling house on the premises to be exempted.

†††† e.†††† Nothing in this act shall be intended to include paraplegia or hemiplegia resulting from locomotor ataxia or other forms of syphilis of the central nervous system, or from chronic alcoholism, or to include other forms of disease resulting from the veteran's own misconduct which may produce signs and symptoms similar to those resulting from paraplegia, osteochondritis, or hemiplegia.

 

†††† 2.††† Section 2 of P.L.1948, c.259 (C.54:4-3.31) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-3.31† Filing of claim.

†††† 2.††† All exemptions from taxation under P.L.1948, c.259 (C.54:4-3.30 et seq.) shall be allowed by the assessor upon the filing with him of a claim in writing under oath, made by or on behalf of the person claiming the same, showing the right to the exemption, briefly describing the property for which exemption is claimed and having annexed thereto a certificate of the claimant's honorable discharge or release under honorable circumstances, from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States and a certificate from the United States Department of Veteransí Affairs or its successor, certifying to a service-connected disability of such claimant of the character described in section 1 of P.L.1948, c.259 (C.54:4-3.30).† In the case of a claim by a surviving spouse of such veteran, the claimant shall establish in writing under oath that the claimant is the owner of the legal title to the premises on which exemption is claimed; that the claimant occupies the dwelling house on said premises as the claimant's legal residence in this State; that the veteran shall have been declared, either during the veteran's lifetime or after the veteran's death, by the United States Department of Veteransí Affairs to have or to have had a service-connected disability of a character described in this act, or, in the case of a claim for an exemption under subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.1948, c.259 (C.54:4-3.30), that the veteran shall have been declared to have died in active service; that the veteran was entitled to an exemption provided for in this act, except for an exemption under paragraph (2) of subsection b. and subsection c. of section 1 hereof, at the time of death; and that the claimant is a resident of this State and has not remarried.† Such exemptions shall be allowed and prorated by the assessor for the remainder of any taxable year from the date the claimant shall have acquired title to the real property intended to be exempt by this act. Where a portion of a multiple-family building or structure occupied by the claimant is the subject of such exemption, the assessor shall aggregate the assessment on the lot or curtilage and building or structure and allow an exemption of that percentage of the aggregate assessment as the value of the portion of the building or structure occupied by the claimant bears to the value of the entire building or structure.

 

†††† 3.††† Section 1 of P.L.1963, c.171 (C.54:4-8.10) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-8.10† Definitions.

†††† 1. (a) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2019, c.413)

†††† (b)†† "Assessor" means the assessor, board of assessors or any other official or body of a taxing district charged with the duty of assessing real and personal property for the purpose of general taxation.

†††† (c)†† "Collector" means the collector or receiver of taxes of a taxing district.

†††† (d)†† "Honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service " means and includes every form of separation from active, full-time duty with military or naval pay and allowances in some branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, other than those marked "dishonorable," "undesirable," "bad conduct," "by sentence of general court martial," "by sentence of summary court martial" or similar expression indicating that the discharge or release was not under honorable circumstances.† A disenrollment certificate or other form of release terminating temporary service in a military or naval branch of the armed forces rendered on a voluntary and part-time basis without pay, or a release from or deferment of induction into the active military or naval service shall not be deemed to be included in the aforementioned phrase.

†††† (e)†† "Pre-tax year" means the particular calendar year immediately preceding the "tax year."

†††† (f)†† "Resident" means one legally domiciled within the State of New Jersey.† Mere seasonal or temporary residence within the State, of whatever duration, shall not constitute domicile within the State for the purposes of this act.† Absence from this State for a period of 12 months shall be prima facie evidence of abandonment of domicile in this State. The burden of establishing legal domicile within the State shall be upon the claimant.

†††† (g)†† "Tax year" means the particular calendar year in which the general property tax is due and payable.

†††† (h)†† "Veteran" means any citizen and resident of this State honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.

†††† (i)††† "Veteran's deduction" means the deduction against the taxes payable by any person, allowable pursuant to this act.

†††† (j)††† "Surviving spouse" means the surviving wife or husband of any of the following, while he or she is a resident of this State, during widowhood or widowerhood:

†††† 1.††† A citizen and resident of this State who has died or shall die while on active duty in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States; or

†††† 2.††† A citizen and resident of this State who has had or shall hereafter have active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States and who died or shall die while on active duty in a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States; or

†††† 3.††† A citizen and resident of this State who has been or may hereafter be honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.

†††† (k)†† "Cooperative" means a housing corporation or association incorporated or organized under the laws of New Jersey which entitles a shareholder thereof to possess and occupy for dwelling purposes a house, apartment or other structure owned or leased by the corporation or association.

†††† (l)††† "Mutual housing corporation" means a corporation not-for-profit incorporated under the laws of New Jersey on a mutual or cooperative basis within the scope of section 607 of the "National Defense Housing Act," Pub.L.76-849 (42 U.S.C.s.1521 et seq.), which acquired a National Defense Housing Project pursuant to that act.

†††† (m)† "Continuing care retirement community" means a residential facility primarily for retired persons where lodging and nursing, medical or other health related services at the same or another location are provided as continuing care to a resident of the facility pursuant to an agreement effective for the life of the resident and in consideration of the payment of an entrance fee with or without other periodic charges, which agreement requires the individual to bear a share of the property taxes that are assessed upon the continuing care retirement community, if a share is attributable to the unit that the resident occupies.

 

†††† 4.††† Section 2 of P.L.1963, c.171 (C.54:4-8.11) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-8.11† Veteransí tax deduction.

†††† 2.††† Every person a citizen and resident of this State now or hereafter honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States and a surviving spouse as defined herein, during her widowhood or his widowerhood, and while a resident of this State, shall be entitled, annually, on proper claim being made therefor, to a deduction from the amount of any tax bill for taxes on real or personal property or both in the sum of $100 in tax year 2000, $150 in tax year 2001, $200 in tax year 2002, and $250 in each subsequent tax year, or if the amount of any such tax shall be less than $100 in tax year 2000, $150 in tax year 2001, $200 in tax year 2002, and $250 in each subsequent tax year, to a cancellation thereof.† A person otherwise eligible for the veterans' deduction who is a resident of a continuing care retirement community shall receive the amount of the deduction to the extent of the share of the taxes assessed against the real property of the continuing care retirement community that is attributable to the unit that the resident occupies.† The continuing care retirement community shall provide that amount as a payment or credit to the resident for the amount of the property tax credit received by the continuing care retirement community.† That payment or credit shall be made to the resident no later than 30 days after the continuing care retirement community receives the property tax bill on which the credit appears.

 

†††† 5.††† Section 3 of P.L.1963, c.171 (C.54:4-8.12) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-8.12† Application for tax deduction.

†††† 3.††† No veteran's deduction from taxes assessed against real and personal property, as provided herein, shall be allowed except upon written application therefor, which application shall be on a form prescribed by the Director of the Division of Taxation, in the Department of the Treasury, and provided for the use of claimants hereunder by the governing body of the municipality constituting the taxing district in which such claim is to be filed and the application has been approved as provided in this act.† An assessor shall not require the filing of an application for a veteran's deduction under this act of any person who has filed, or shall file, a claim for an exemption from taxation under chapter 184 of the laws of 1951, on or before December 31, 1963, but shall approve a veteran's deduction for such person, if it appears from such claim for exemption that such person meets all the other prerequisites required by law for the approval of a claim for a veteran's deduction.† Each assessor may at any time inquire into the right of a claimant to the continuance of a veteran's deduction hereunder and for that purpose he may require the filing of a new application or the submission of such proof as he shall deem necessary to determine the right of the claimant to continuance of such deduction.† No application for a veteran's deduction based upon service in the Armed Forces of the United States shall be allowed unless there is annexed thereto a copy, which may be photostatic, of claimant's certificate of honorable discharge or of his certificate of release under honorable circumstances from active service in a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.† In the case of an application by a surviving spouse said application shall not be allowed unless it clearly establishes that:

†††† (a)†† Claimant's spouse died while on active duty in a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, having had active service in a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, or in the case of a surviving spouse of a veteran, claimant shall establish that the veteran was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, (b) claimant's spouse was a citizen and resident of this State at the time of death, (c) claimant was the spouse of the veteran at the time of the veteran's death, and (d) claimant is a resident of this State and has not remarried.

 

†††† 6.††† Section 8 of P.L.1963, c.171 (C.54:4-8.17) is amended to read as follows:

 

C.54:4-8.17† Apportionment of veteranís deduction; additional to other entitlements.

†††† 8.††† No person shall be allowed a veteran's deduction from the tax assessed against real and personal property of more than $100 in the aggregate in tax year 2000, $150 in the aggregate in tax year 2001, $200 in the aggregate in tax year 2002 and $250 in the aggregate in any subsequent tax year, but a veteran's deduction may be claimed in any taxing district in which the claimant has taxable property and may be apportioned, at the claimant's option, between two or more taxing districts; provided such claims shall not exceed $100 in the aggregate in tax year 2000, $150 in the aggregate in tax year 2001, $200 in the aggregate in tax year 2002 and $250 in the aggregate in any subsequent tax year.† If a surviving spouse, as herein defined, shall have been honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to a veteran's deduction for each status.† The veteran's deductions herein provided shall be in addition to any exemptions now or hereafter provided by any other statute for disabled veterans or surviving spouses, as herein defined, and in addition to any deductions provided under P.L.1963, c.172 (C.54:4-8.40 et seq.) for senior citizens and the permanently and totally disabled, and certain surviving spouses thereof, to which the claimant is entitled.† In addition, a claimant may receive any homestead rebate or credit provided by law.

 

Repealer.

†††† 7.††† Section 2 of P.L.1971, c.398 (C.54:4-3.33a) is repealed.

 

†††† 8.††† This act shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative until the approval by the voters of a constitutional amendment authorizing the extension of the veteransí property tax deduction and the veteransí property tax exemption to citizens and residents of the State now or hereafter honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service who did not serve in time of war or other emergency.

 

†††† Approved January 21, 2020.