Whelan Urges All Local Residents To File Income Tax Returns

Says Even Those Who Ordinarily Wouldn’t Have to File Should, In Order to Qualify for Property Tax Relief

NORTHFIELD – State Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, urged his constituents in the 2nd Legislative District to file a New Jersey income tax return – even if they normally wouldn’t have to – in order to qualify for tax relief programs which could offset their property tax burden.

“In a state with some of the highest property taxes in the nation, every cent of property tax relief is essential for families struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “We want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to property tax relief or a tenant rebate can collect. By filing a State income tax return – even if you don’t have to file under federal guidelines – you’re making sure you can get the tax relief for which you qualify.”

Senator Whelan noted that, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), individuals earning below a certain gross income threshold may not have to file an annual federal income tax return. Click here to view the gross income thresholds for filing an 2011 income tax return under federal guidelines.

Senator Whelan added that, in some cases, individuals earning below the gross income threshold may still have to file an income tax return. To determine whether or not you have to file an income tax return, please visit the IRS interactive tax assistant website at: http://www.irs.gov/ita/article/0,,id=219890,00.html.

Senator Whelan said that, even if people don’t have to file an annual tax return, some property tax credit programs depend on the State income tax return to determine eligibility, including the Homestead Property Tax rebate program. By filing a State income tax return, New Jerseyans can make sure that they will receive the property tax relief for which they’re eligible.

Senator Whelan also noted that NJ Senate Democrats have put forward a proposal to phase in a 10 percent property tax credit, starting in Tax Year 2012, for homeowners earning less than $250,000 a year. If approved, the credit would be applied against an individual’s income tax responsibility – if the taxpayer does not owe income taxes to the State, they would receive the credit in addition to their annual income tax rebate. Senator Whelan said that eligible homeowners would receive $100 under the program when they file their income tax returns in 2013, and that the program would be fully-implemented by Tax Year 2015.

“The new property tax credit being discussed by the Senate Democratic caucus – in collaboration with property tax relief programs already on the books – would help to make New Jersey more affordable for middle class homeowners and renters alike,” said Senator Whelan. “While the program wouldn’t be available to taxpayers until next year, it’s still important for taxpayers to apply for, and receive, whatever benefits they may be entitled to under the current law. If anyone needs assistance in finding the appropriate tax filing forms, they should feel free to reach out to my district office for help.”

The deadline to file an income tax return for Tax Year 2011 is April 17, 2012. Senator Whelan’s district office can be contacted at (609) 383-1388, or via e-mail at SenWhelan@njleg.org.