Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A. Urges Veterans to Claim Special Exemption for 2017 Tax Year

Wayne, New Jersey — A. James Romer, Jr., Managing Partner, Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A., wants New Jersey veterans to be aware of a new Veterans Exemption for which they may be eligible to receive a reduction in their income tax bills.

Details are provided on The New Jersey Division of Taxation website for 2017 and thereafter that military veterans may be eligible for a $3,000 exemption on their income tax returns if they were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty any time up to the last day of the tax year. Spouses or domestic partners who also served in the military are also eligible, provided they were also honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances and they are filing a joint return. This exemption does not apply to non-veteran spouses and domestic partners.

Veterans will receive this exemption in addition to any other exemptions to which they are entitled to claim and is available to resident and nonresident returns. To claim the new exemption, veterans must provide the following documentation proving honorable discharge (they only need to provide documentation once):

  • DD 214 — Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • DD Form 256 — Discharge Certificate
  • WD AGO 53 — Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge
  • WD AGO 53-98 — Military Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge
  • WD AGO 55 — Honorable Discharge from the Army of the United States
  • NA Form 13038 — Certificate of Military Service
  • NAVCG 553 — Notice of Separation from U.S. Coast Guard
  • NAVMC 78PD — U.S. Marine Corps Report of Separation
  • NAVPERS 553 — Certificate of Separation/Discharge from U.S. Navy
  • County Veteran ID Card — Veteran identification card issued by any of the New Jersey counties
  • Federal Veteran ID Card — Veteran identification card issued under the Veterans Identification Card Act

Veterans may submit a Veteran Income Tax Exemption Submission Form to the New Jersey Division of Taxation before filing or with their New Jersey Income tax return. This may result in processing your return more quickly.

“It is important that those who served our country take advantage of this exemption that is well-deserved,” Mr. Romer says. “This exemption will help to ease their tax burden.”

Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A. Comments on Increase in Social Security Benefits for Next Year

Mary Tom, Partner, Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A., says the upcoming increase in benefits for Social Security recipients might not be enough for recipients who live in New York and New Jersey – where the cost of living is very high – and the rise in the age of eligibility might hurt older recipients.

On October 13, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that those who are currently collecting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase starting in January 2018. For the average retired worker, that means a weekly increase of about $27, or a $329 increase annually. According to the agency, more than 66 million SSD and SSI beneficiaries will receive the COLA increase in 2018. Over 61 million SSD beneficiaries will receive the COLA increase in January 2018. The 8 million Americans who receive SSI will see the increase come earlier, on December 29, 2017.

However, the taxable maximum – the largest amount in a worker’s paycheck that will be deducted for Social Security – will increase from $127,200 to $128,700. That means 12 million out of the 175 million workers in the U.S. will pay more in Social Security taxes. In addition, starting next year, the full retirement age will go up by two months, from 66 years and two months to 66 years and four months. That is the age at which they receive the full payout of their Social Security benefits.

Under the Social Security Act, the amount of the increase depends on the increase in the Consumer Price Index, which is determined by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The increase in benefits sounds like good news for the retirees, but for those who live in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey, that might not be enough, Ms. Tom says. Raising the minimum age will also hurt those who are looking to collect their full payout. Two months does not sound like a long time, but when you have to wait longer to collect money that you need, it can seem like an eternity.

For more information, call (973) 256-0456 or visit www.hjslawoffice.com.

Scott T. Rumana Appointed New Jersey Superior Court Judge in Passaic County

Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A. has announced that Scott T. Rumana has left his firm after being appointed to be a Judge with New Jersey Superior Court in Passaic County.

Mr. Rumana joined the firm in 2006, concentrating his practice in the areas of Trusts and Estates and Real Estate. In addition to his work with the firm, he served as General Counsel to a number of regional automobile dealerships.

In 1994, he was elected Councilman for Wayne and served in that position until 1997. From 1997 to 2000, he was a Passaic County Freeholder before serving as Mayor of Wayne Township from 2002 to 2007. He also served as a New Jersey State Assemblyman for the 40th District from 2007 to 2016. In 2012, he was named Republican Whip in the Assembly. He also served as Chairman of the Passaic County Republican Party from 2006 to 2012.

Mr. Rumana serves on multiple committees, including the Wayne YMCA, the Executive Board of the Northern New Jersey Council for the Boy Scouts of America and the Hospital Foundation at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wayne. He is also a past chairman of the Explorers Division of the Boy Scouts and a former member of the Transportation Committee for the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce.

He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and before the United States District Court of New Jersey and is a member of the Passaic County Bar Association. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hartwick College and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.

“We thank Mr. Rumana for his years at Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney,” the firm stated. “He will be remembered as being a talented, hardworking and dedicated attorney. We wish him the best of luck in his new role serving the people of Passaic County.”

For more information, call (973) 256-0456.