Want to pay less property taxes? Well, soon your Manalapan property taxes can decrease by simply shopping local. Manalapan’s is implementing a Property Tax Program allowing township residents to receive discounts at participating business and an equivalent credit to pay down their real estate taxes.
The Property Tax Card is a patent of Fincredit Inc., a company that has been approaching municipalities nation-wide to join their new initiative. Fincredit has received approval from the state and a number of New Jersey townships have signed on to this win-win program, which benefits both business owners and residents, including neighboring Marlboro Township.
Manalapan Mayor Susan Cohen thought the program would be a perfect fit for Manalapan and introduced Fincredit director Carmine DeFalco to the Economic Development Council (EDC), according to EDC Chairman Nicholas Campanella.
The company will issue special cards to the municipality, sponsored by either the municipality or paid for by an investor. Then, the cards are co-branded by the investors (if that is the case) and issued to all residents. Each household will be issued two cards.
Currently, Manalapan Township is recruiting local businesses to sign up to participate in this program and accept the card and offer a certain discount to customers.
So, how does this work?
If a resident shops at a participating local business they will purchase their goods and also have the cashier swipe their Property Tax card. A specific percentage of the sale, decided upon by the business, will go towards the reduction of your property taxes, Campanella explained. Some fees will come out of that percentage to be paid to Fincredit, but they are minimal.
Fifty days before your quarterly tax payment is due, Fincredit uploads all payments to the municipality. Then, the township will send you a revised tax bill minus what you have already contributed, according to Campanella.
For instance, if you go out to a participating restaurant and spend $100 and the restaurant offers a 10 percent rebate, then $10 will be contributed towards your property taxes once the merchant swipes your Property Tax card, minus the fees paid to Fincredit.
“It seems like a no-brainer for everybody to participate,” Campanella said, “as far as merchants, as well as residents.”
Don’t worry if you’re a renter in the township - you can still participate in this program. Instead of receiving a rebate towards your quarterly property tax bill, renters will receive a discounted check, thus essentially getting cash back for shopping locally.
Additionally, if you are an owner with a mortgage agreement where the bank pays your taxes, Fincredit will send the bank a reduced amount fifty days prior to when the tax payment is due. At the end of the year, you can let the bank know that you have an overage on your escrow account and the bank will either give you that overage or roll it over to the next year.
Right now, the EDC is in communication with a local bank who has expressed an interest in paying for the imprinting of the cards. If this occurs than this program will not cost the township any money.
The EDC is also looking into co-shopping with other towns that participate. So, if you love a certain business that is not located in Manalapan, if that business agrees to participate in this program you will be able to shop there and still receive a discount on your Manalapan tax bill.
The goal for the EDC is to include every business in the town, whether they are small and privately owned, or a part of a large franchise, Campanella said.
Currently, all documents regarding the program are being reviewed by the Township Attorney and Township Comptroller to make sure that everything is compliant with municipal laws. Campanella said that the EDC is hoping to get the program running within the next 60 days.
Once the program is ready to be implemented, a powerpoint presentation will be placed on the Manalapan Township Web site and the EDC is looking to put together a documentary for MTTN, the township’s cable channel, explaining how the program works to residents and encouraging business owners to sign up. The EDC will also be sending out letters to all businesses in Manalapan that describes the program and urges them to participate in this program.