In tough economic times, which many area residents are experiencing now, every dollar counts. But it seems many New Jersey residents are unaware of the property tax deductions that are available to veterans who served during wartime or certain peacekeeping missions and were honorably discharged. If the veteran is deceased, the deduction is available to his or her surviving spouse, civil union partner or domestic partner.
A similar deduction is available to senior citizens whose income for both husband and wife is $10,000 or less annually. Not included in that income is money received from Social Security or pension/disability funds received from the federal, state, county or municipal government.
The property tax deduction in both cases is $250, or a total of $500 annually.
For veterans, surviving spouses and peacekeepers, forms must be filled out which indicate where, when and how long the veteran served, as well as information on the property on which the deduction is based. The property owner seeking the deduction must be a legal resident of New Jersey.
A copy of the veteran’s Form DD-214 must accompany the completed paperwork, all of which must be presented to those in charge of the municipality's tax assessor’s office. In the case of a deceased veteran, Military Notification of Death or Certification of United States Veteran’s Administration must accompany the paperwork.
For assistance in documenting a veteran’s status, contact the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at 609-530-6854 or the US Veterans Administration at 800-827-1000.
Among the active wartime service periods in which the veteran must have served to be eligible for the tax deduction are World War II, Korean Conflict, Lebanon Crisis of 1958, Vietnam Conflict, Lebanon Peacekeeping Mission, Grenada Peacekeeping Mission, Panama Peacekeeping Mission, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Mission, “Restore Hope” Mission (Somalia), “Joint Endeavor/Joint Guard” (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Northern/Southern Watch. Veterans who served during a war did not have to serve overseas to be eligible for the deduction. Those who served during a peacekeeping mission had to serve at least 14 days in the combat area to be eligible.
In addition to the deductions noted above, veterans can also apply for a Cape May County Veteran ID Card which entitles you to discounts at about 90 area service providers, retailers, restaurants and travel/leisure operations. And more are always being added.
A list of discount providers is available at the offices of the County Clerk, 7 N. Main Street (Route 9) in Cape May Court House, where you can apply for the card. Make sure you bring along a copy of your DD-214 and another form of identification that verifies you are a Cape May County resident, such as a driver's license.
For more about property tax deductions, read Tax Breaks for Veterans and Seniors in Beau's Corner.