A New Tax Deduction For Vets

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It is income tax season, and there is a new law (saves money) that changes New Jersey tax law that Governor Christie signed that probably has been forgotten, and did not get much publicity.

Starting in tax year 2017, New Jersey residents who were “honorable discharged veterans” can take a $3,000 personal deduction from their New Jersey state taxes.

They can do that every year, which is fantastic, and this must be shared with over 500,000 people who could qualify in New Jersey. I bet 99.9 percent of the people who qualify do not know about this.

Will their accountants tell them? Who knows. Will their friends tell them? Who knows. Can they find out about this at a county Freeholders meeting? Who knows.
Also, even if they were in the reserves, not necessarily full time active duty, they can use this new deduction. A lot of the time, reservists were excluded from getting benefits, like a V.A. Loan for example.

The law applies to any New Jersey taxpayer who is “a veteran honorable discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, a reserve component thereof, or the National Guard of New Jersey in a federal status.” Veteran is defined under NJSA 38A.

But, and here is one big “But.” The taxpayer must send in a “honorable separation form DD214 as proof of active duty.” So, if they don’t have that form, they have to write away and get it from the federal government.

Here is the 2nd big “But:” If you have to write away for the DD214 form, note this please, because it is not as easy as just making a simple request:

Your request must contain certain basic information for them to locate your service records.

This information includes:
• The veteran’s complete name used while in service
• Service number
• Social security number
• Branch of service
• Dates of service
• Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
• If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
o Place of discharge
o Last unit of assignment
o Place of entry into the service, if known.
• All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next-of-kin.
• If you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.

You will need to write to:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

This form need only to be supplied in the first year you claim the deduction, and the NJ tax department will have it on record for years to follow.

The last big “But” is that you have to check a box on the NJ tax return that shows you want this deduction.

Good Luck. This will save 500,000 New Jerseyans a little over $100 bucks annually.

David F. Lipton
Toms River


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