South Jersey Pro offers tips for those doing their own NJ taxes

HADDONFIELD, NJ — There are several things those who prepare and file their own state taxes should remember to keep in mind to minimize errors and maximize their refund, a Haddonfield tax preparer told Patch .

“Most people, especially if they’re paying their own taxes, have no idea” some elements of preparing and filing their state taxes, Jaimee Hammer, owner of hammer taxes and vice president of the National Association of Tax Professionals said in an interview.

Somewhere between 67 million and 72 million U.S. taxpayers will likely prepare and file their own tax returns this year, according to efile.com.

With New Jersey deadline for filing state taxes, April 18 fast approaching – April 15th is a holiday observed by both state and federal, hence the reason for the extra 3 days – Patch asked Hammer to discuss six potential sources of confusion New Jersey residents may have when they do their own taxes.

Veterans Deduction

The deduction the state put in place a few years ago for veterans is still in effect and equals $6,000 per veteran, Hammer said.

“If you have a spouse who is a veteran, make sure they pre-certify with the state” for this deduction, she said. “These people only need to certify once and then they can use the deduction every year.

Middle Class Income Rebate

A $500 middle class income rebate check that New Jersey residents who filed under married joint household status and had taxable income up to $150,000 received in 2021 should not be considered as taxable income, Hammer said.

This type of check and corresponding classification on her tax return was also sent to New Jersey residents who filed under single status and had taxable income of up to $75,000, she continued.

Personal medical expenses

New Jersey taxpayers often don’t remember that the state’s income threshold for deducting personal medical expenses — 2% — is lower than the federal threshold of 7 1/2%, according to Hammer.

Contrary to widely held belief, “many households in New Jersey have enough medical expenses that it makes sense to do so,” she said.

Unemployment benefits

The spike in jobless claims spurred largely by the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t resulted in a change in the tax status of the unemployment money people receive, Hammer said.

“Unemployment is not taxable on your New Jersey tax return, only on the federal tax return,” she continued.

Property tax deduction

“New Jersey is one of the few states that allows a property tax deduction on the state return,” Hammer said, adding that that limit was raised several years ago to $15,000.

“It has allowed so many people in New Jersey to deduct all of their taxes when it comes to property taxes,” she noted. ”

Reciprocal tax agreements

New Jersey residents who work in Pennsylvania do not have to pay Pennsylvania state income tax, nor do those who live in New Jersey but work in New York. That’s because those two entities have reciprocal agreements with New Jersey, Hammer said.

However, those who live in New Jersey and work in the city of Philadelphia or in the states of Delaware and New York must pay those entities’ taxes, Hammer said.

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