Can widows take the veteran tax break?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. Does the veterans tax break does this apply to widows?
— Widow

A. Let’s take a closer look at this new benefit for veterans.

In 2016, the state increased the gasoline tax. That bill had a number of other items tacked onto it.

One was a new $3,000 tax deduction for all veterans who have an Honorable Discharge from the armed forces, national guard or reserves, said Bernie Kiely, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Kiely Capital Management in Morristown.

This deduction is actually an additional personal exemption, he said.

“New Jersey allows you a personal exemption for being alive,” he said. “There is an extra exemption for being over the age of 65 and for being blind or disabled.”

Also, Kiely said, you are also eligible to claim an exemption for each dependent and for dependents under the age of 22 who are attending college.

“Normally, you are entitled to a personal exemption for any year or part of a year that you are alive,” he said.

For example, Kiely said, if he was to die today, his wife would be able to claim a 2018 exemption for me for being alive for part of the year and for being an Honorably Discharged veteran of the U.S. Navy.

But personal exemptions are gone in the year after the individual passes away.

“So if you are the spouse of an Honorably Discharged veteran who passed away in 2017, you would be eligible to claim an exemption for you and your deceased spouse as well as the $3,000 additional exemption for being a veteran on your 2017 New Jersey income tax return,” Kiely said. “You would not be eligible to claim any exemption for the deceased on your 2018 New Jersey income tax return.”

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