New bills: Income tax refund methods, homestead property tax criteria

TRENTON – Among new bills introduced as the year winds down are ones dealing with income tax refunds, homestead property tax criteria, and carbon monoxide detectors in schools.

S2423/A3561: In a nod to the way lives have changed, this bill would allow for income tax refunds to be made via debit cards instead of direct deposit or by check.

Taxpayers could opt out of the debit card method, and choose to receive their refund the old-fashioned way.

But the bill would present debit cards as an option for people who lack readily available access to banking institutions.

The bill stipulates that the debit card would have to be redeemable at a variety of merchants, rather than being a so-called “closed loop” debit card redeemable only at certain merchants.

The Senate version is sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-37, Teaneck, and the Assembly version’s numerous sponsors include Ruben Ramos, D-33, Hoboken, and Declan O’Scanlon, R-13, Red Bank.


S2402/A3640: This bill would require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in public and private schools. 

The bill is in reaction to a recent incident in a Georgia school in which several children and teachers were sickened and had to be hospitalized due to carbon monoxide exposure.

This bill would not require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors if it is determined that there is no potential carbon monoxide hazard in a school.  Thus, these devices would not be required in a school which does not have a heat source that could potentially emit carbon monoxide fumes. 

Sen. Shirley Turner, D-15, Trenton, has sponsored the upper chamber version. The lower-chamber bill sponsors include Pamela Lampitt, D-6, Voorhees; Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-15, Trenton; and Connie Wagner, D-38, Paramus.


S2407: This bill would change homestead property tax reimbursement criteria.

Currently, when a person moves from one home to another, the base year changes to the first full tax year during which the person resides in the new home.

This bill would keep in effect the base year established in a person’s initial year of eligibility. 

Thus, the reimbursement amount for the new location would be calculated with reference to the base year applicable to the former home. 

However, if the new location is new construction, or has been newly constructed during any year since a claimant’s eligibility began, the base year would be the first full tax year following the construction’s completion. 

New construction would mean a homestead that first became taxable in a year subsequent to an eligible claimant’s base year. 

This bill would further revise the law to allow someone to receive reimbursement immediately following a move to a new home.  Under current law, the claimant must wait until the second full tax year following relocation for reimbursement eligibility to resume.

Sen. Fred Madden, D-4, Turnersville, is the prime sponsor.

New bills: Income tax refund methods, homestead property tax criteria