Tax breaks for N.J. veterans

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. I’m a veteran. Do I qualify for the annual $250 property tax deduction? I spent three years on active duty and 21 in the U.S. Navy Reserves and was honorably discharged from active duty. I will be in the Retired Reserves for six more years until I am 60.
— Do I qualify?

A. The State of New Jersey gives a couple of tax benefits to veterans.

You’re asking about the annual $250 property tax deduction.

“This is a state deduction for New Jersey that was designed to help war veterans, and those who served in peacekeeping missions save money on property taxes,” said Michael Green, a certified financial planner with Wechter Feldman Wealth Management in Parsippany.

He said veterans who were honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active service during a time of war may claim a real estate tax deduction annually on homes they own and occupy in New Jersey.

A veteran is required to have a minimum of 14 days of service in the combat zone, he said.

“A campaign ribbon may not be a requirement to qualify for the annual tax deduction depending on
the peacekeeping mission in which you participated,” he said. “Peacekeeping missions require a minimum of 14 days service in the actual conflict area.”

If service‐incurred injury or disability occurs in the conflict area, Green said, then actual time served will be used to qualify instead.

While this $250 deduction may help you keep more money in your pocket, there is another possible
benefit you should know about.

Some New Jersey veterans who were honorably discharged from active duty may qualify for the Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans benefit, Green said.

To qualify for a property tax exemption, you must be honorably discharged from active wartime service in the U.S. Armed Forces; and Certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having service‐connected total or 100% permanent disability; and the full or partial owner of a home which you occupy as your principal residence; and a resident of New Jersey.

There’s one more you need to know about.

Many veterans qualify for an additional exemption of $3,000 on their New Jersey tax return for income earned in 2017 and beyond, Green said.

“Because you are a military veteran, you are eligible for this exemption when honorably discharged,” he said. “Your spouse or civil union partner also qualifies for this exemption if he or she is a military veteran who meets the same requirement.”

Green said there are over 400,000 veterans living in New Jersey, and they should check out all available benefits from the state, including in the areas of housing, financial assistance, employment, education, transportation assistance and mental health support.

The State of New Jersey’s Department of Veterans Affairs created a Benefits Guide to help you find out more.

Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice to our country.

Email your questions to moc.p1537378473leHye1537378473noMJN1537378473@ksA1537378473.