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Departments of Human Services and Treasury Highlight National Incentive As One of Many Resources Available During Tax Season
TRENTON, NJ - Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff today encouraged seniors and individuals who are low income or have disabilities to file their taxes at one the state’s 330 local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. The VITA Program is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers who offer free tax preparation and guidance on beneficial programs.
 
 
State and Federal taxes for calendar year 2011 are due on Tuesday, April 17th.                                                                                                                                      

Commissioner Velez highlighted the importance of the program during a visit to the Mercer County Hispanic Association’s VITA site in Trenton, where she thanked volunteers for their service and talked with tax filers. 

“Filling out tax forms can be incredibly confusing and frustrating,” said Commissioner Velez. “Throughout the state, generous volunteers provide a free and convenient resource at over 300 locations for individuals and families who can’t afford the high cost of commercial tax preparation but who have questions and want to be sure they are completing the forms properly.”

Tax assistance began in February and continues through tax day at convenient locations such as neighborhood community centers, churches, libraries and shopping centers.  Many sites offer electronic filing. Nearly every town statewide has at least one VITA site. Locations can be identified by calling, 211 or by going to http://www.nj211.org/vita09.cfm#vita_sites

“VITA’s trained advisors can help taxpayers file their federal and New Jersey tax returns accurately and take advantage of the full range of credits and deductions they are eligible to receive,” said State Treasurer Sidamon Eristoff.

Volunteers ensure that individuals and families are made aware of various tax incentives, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

Governor Chris Christie announced during his FY’13 Budget Address an increase to EITC over five years from 20% to 25%, which will make it one of the most generous income tax credit programs in the country.  The EITC is a federal and state tax benefit for individuals and families who earn low- to moderate- incomes. It may reduce the amount of taxes owed, or provide an increased refund, depending on income criteria. A family of five with an annual income less than $43,998 could qualify for over $5,000 in federal tax credit and $1,150 in state tax credit. A childless individual or couple can qualify with incomes less than $13,660 or $18,740, respectively. The program is administered through the state Department of Treasury.

New Jersey’s tax form also includes opportunities for low and moderate-Income families to access certain available social services.  Section 13 allows filers to indicate if there is an uninsured child in the home. If marked, DHS will mail out an NJ FamilyCare Express Lane Eligibility application – a short, half page form – to enroll the child, quickly.  NJ FamilyCare is a state and federally funded children’s health insurance program that provides coverage for doctor visits, prescriptions, dental exams and hospitalization.

 
 
 
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