The Commissioner said that thousands of New Jerseyans may be unaware that the federal government is offering increased tax credits that can be accessed only by filing 2008 taxes. The additional credit can be especially crucial for families during this national, fiscal downturn.
Governor Jon Corzine also encourages participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit program. “Through EITC we're helping struggling families to manage their homes and care for their children,” said Governor Corzine. In this economic climate, every little bit helps. We're doing all we can to spread the word and encourage eligible families to apply.”
The EITC reduces the taxes some income-earners owe, increases some refunds and may provide refunds even if the earners don't owe taxes. Residents who earn too little to file a tax return still may be eligible for the credit. The credit is based on income and the number of qualifying children in the household. The maximum a family can earn, and still apply for the federal and state EITC, is $42,000.
“EITC is important for families who are trying to support themselves in these financially-difficult times,” said Commissioner Velez. “The credit — which can be as much as $4,800 for federal taxes and as much as $1,000 for state taxes — can make a huge impact for a family with mounting mortgage, utility and healthcare costs,” she said.
To be eligible, those filing must have earned income from wages or self-employment. For the 2008 tax year, employed individuals must have adjusted gross income of less than:
• $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly) with two or more qualifying children;
• $33,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly) with one qualifying child; or
• $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly) with no qualifying child/children.
No one with more than $2,950 in investment income, such as interest or dividends, can claim the EITC.
New Jersey residents who are eligible for the federal credit according to the above chart may qualify for the state EITC as well. To be eligible for the NJEITC, a taxpayer must both file for and receive the federal credit, and file a New Jersey resident income tax return.
The long-standing EITC Public/Private Partnership continues its extensive public-awareness campaign to reach EITC-eligible families. The Partnership is comprised of the Department of Human Services' Division of Family Development, the Department of Treasury's Division of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Association for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G). As the lead EITC partner, PSE&G has funded printing flyers and envelope inserts distributed to New Jersey residents through state agencies.
Both federal and NJ 2008 tax forms are now available. The filing deadline is April 15, 2009. For more information on the EITC and on free tax return preparation assistance available through the IRS's local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, New Jersey residents can call the state's toll-free social services hotline 2-1-1 or the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Or access the New Jersey Division of Taxation homepage at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/