Trenton – A longstanding discrepancy with the New Jersey veterans tax exemption is on its way to being fixed after state Senate Democrats today introduced a bill to expand that credit to National Guardsman and reservists who were called to active duty, but are still ineligible to receive the benefit.
This week, legislation sponsored by Senator Andrew Zwicker that would expand eligibility for the $6,000 veterans’ gross income tax exemption by eliminating the requirement that a veteran taxpayer serves in an active duty status or federal active duty status was released from the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Under the bill, S-551, a veteran of the Armed Forces, a reserve component thereof, or a member of the National Guard of New Jersey who has been honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances would be able to claim the exemption regardless of whether he or she served in an active duty or federal active duty status,” Zwicker’s bill states.
“Part of the call to serve is the expectation that the time and place of that service carries great uncertainty and courage. Therefore, any New Jersey veteran who has honorably worn the uniform of our country, regardless of when or where, and regardless of whether deployed at the order of the President or of the Governor, has earned this measure of tax relief as a small token of gratitude for their service,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon).
According to Senator Zwicker, in some cases, veterans have been deemed ineligible for the tax exemption because they were deployed under State active duty, which does not ordinarily qualify as active service under federal law. For example, this meant that veterans deployed for domestic operations such as Hurricane Sandy or the COVID-19 pandemic were not eligible for the tax exemption because they were deployed under State active duty by the Governor. This bill would expand the eligibility so that those veterans could also claim the tax exemption.
The bill was released from the committee by a vote of 4-0.