New Jersey comptroller: State stands to recover millions of dollars in overpaid tax rebates

Thousands of state residents got bigger tax credits than they were owed, and the state could see millions of dollars returning to the treasury after the funds are recovered, the state comptroller's office said.

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The comptroller said in a statement released Thursday that his office had discovered 3,771 taxpayers got full rebates under the Homestead Property Tax Credit even though their properties have multiple units. The statement accompanied a report detailing the overpayments.

"Our report identifies a gap in the oversight of property tax relief programs and it offers a clear solution for closing that gap," acting Comptroller Marc Larkins said in a statement. "The state can save millions of dollars a year by requiring local tax assessors to report already known information."

The state expects to recover $1.6 million from those taxpayers. State officials also said other property owners may have improperly received 100 percent of credits under other tax incentives they were not rightfully owed.

The comptroller recommended the state Division of Taxation pursue the money, which could save the state millions of dollars.

Homestead tax credits are available to some residents who meet annual income limits, including income of $75,000 for homeowners under 65 who are not blind or disabled.

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The comptroller said the investigation came after a tip from the public alleging that eight homeowners in Kearny got larger homestead credits than they were owed because parts of their residences were occupied by other tenants.

The report comes as Republican Gov. Chris Christie is trying to push his $33.8 billion through the Democrat-led Legislature.