TRENTON – New Jerseyans have swamped the state’s property tax relief hotline in the first few days since application instructions went out, averaging around 26 calls a minute Monday in a wave that left many inquiries unanswered.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Danielle Currie said more than 14,000 calls were received on the hotline – (888) 238-1233 – between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday, compared with 18,000 in the entire month of August, a month when 98.5% of calls were answered and assisted.

The hotline had been used for the homestead benefit program but was accepting questions for both that and the replacement ANCHOR program in August, Currie said.

“The ANCHOR hotline is experiencing incredibly high call volumes, as triple the amount of New Jerseyans are now eligible for the program compared to the homestead benefit,” Currie said.

“In anticipation of the significant call volume, the Division of Taxation doubled the number of staff dedicated to answering the ANCHOR information number, but call volume remains high and agents are working diligently to answer as many calls as possible,” she said.

Rather than tell people that due to call volume they can’t be accommodated, the state is going to allow more callers to be placed on hold. But callers should be prepared to remain on hold for 30 minutes.

People who call the number for filing by phone – (877) 658-2972 – will not be dropped or rerouted if they select option 1 for filing. If they select option 3 for general questions, they are likely to be sent to the general information line and either wait 30 minutes or be told to call another time.

Residents can also apply online through a website – https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/anchor/index.shtml – that may already have the answer to residents’ questions, eliminating the need for a phone call.

“It’s important to note the ANCHOR deadline is not until Dec. 30, 2022, not to be confused with the Senior Freeze deadline of Oct. 31, 2022,” Currie said.

The state had earlier asked that residents not call for help until 10 days after the information and instructions were mailed to homes in their county. Those mailings were supposed to start Sept. 12, and were even touted by Gov. Phil Murphy that day, but that got delayed a week and started Monday.

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Here is the revised mailing schedule:

  • Burlington, Hunterdon and Mercer: Mailing begins Sept. 19, email delivery begins Sept. 13
  • Atlantic and Essex: Mailing begins Sept. 20, email delivery begins Sept. 13
  • Bergen and Warren: Mailing begins Sept. 21, email delivery begins Sept. 16
  • Ocean, Salem and Sussex: Mailing begins Sept. 22, email delivery begins Sept. 20
  • Cumberland, Gloucester and Hudson: Mailing begins Sept. 23, email delivery begins Sept. 20
  • Monmouth and Somerset: Mailing begins Sept. 23, email delivery begins Sept. 23
  • Passaic and Union: Mailing begins Sept. 26, email delivery begins Sept. 27
  • Cape May and Middlesex: Mailing begins Sept. 28, email delivery begins Sept. 27
  • Camden and Morris: Mailing begins Sept. 30, email delivery begins Sept. 29

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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