As Filing Season Kicks Off, Treasury Reminds Taxpayers that More Money is Available to More People Than Ever Before Under Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit Program
Roughly 25% of Eligible Taxpayers Routinely Do Not Apply; Statewide Awareness Campaign Underway to Encourage Participation
(TRENTON) – In tandem with national Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, the NJ Department of the Treasury today launched a statewide awareness campaign to encourage every eligible taxpayer to take advantage of New Jersey’s expanded program, which can provide anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars in relief to those who are eligible.
For the 2021 tax filing season, New Jersey’s Earned Income Tax Credit (NJEITC) is one of the most generous in the country at 40 percent of the federal credit, following three annual increases under a 2018 law signed by Governor Murphy. Additionally, the Governor also signed legislation as part of last year’s budget that lowered the minimum age eligibility for the EITC from 21 to 18 and to those 65 and older without dependents, which is projected to help another 90,000 residents.
“Despite the growth in value of the tax credit over the last few years, we estimate that nearly a quarter of eligible taxpayers do not apply for the credit, leaving this hard-earned money on the table,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “With the tax filing season officially getting underway, we have created a host of marketing materials to raise awareness about this valuable program. Given the ongoing financial struggles created by COVID, we want to make sure, now more than ever, that every eligible taxpayer receives the credit they’ve earned.”
For tax year 2021, New Jersey taxpayers could receive a refundable credit of up to $2,691 with qualifying dependents or $601 without dependents. The maximum credit available for workers without dependents is nearly tripled from previous years in thanks to provisions expanding the federal EITC in the American Rescue Plan.
As part of the ongoing awareness campaign, Treasury will once again collaborate with a broad range of partners, including First Lady Tammy Murphy’s office, which has made maternal and infant wellbeing a priority through Nurture NJ, as well as sister agencies across state government, legislative district offices, local and county governments, K-12 and Higher Education partners, the non-profit community, and tax preparers to help spread the word about the expanded EITC benefits. Treasury has created a wide range of promotional materials that can be found online for any partners looking to help raise awareness about the NJEITC.
To be eligible for the NJEITC, a taxpayer must:
- Meet all qualifications for the federal earned income tax credit, except for the minimum age requirement;
- Be a resident of New Jersey who works or earns income;
- Have a qualifying child or be at least 18 years old;
- Meet the income limits for their filing status; and
- Have a valid Social Security number (This includes spouses and any qualifying child listed on the tax return).
For more information on eligibility requirements and applying for the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit, visit njeitc.org.
The EITC expansion is part of the Murphy Administration’s goal of addressing income inequality. These efforts build upon previous tax fairness initiatives enacted during the Murphy Administration, including:
- The New Jersey Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit;
- The Middle Class Tax Rebate;
- Numerous Military and Veteran Tax Credits and Exemptions, including the doubling of the Income Tax Exemption for Veterans to $6,000; and
- An increase in the maximum Property Tax deduction from $10,000 to $15,000.
Treasury’s Division of Taxation offers 24-7 information and assistance online, including free tax forms and a free electronic filing system. Additionally, several free tax preparation assistance programs are available for low to moderate income individuals, individuals with disabilities, non-English speaking residents, and adults over 60. For more information, visit the Division of Taxation’s website.