The Division of Taxation announced that NJ same-sex couples who enter into the newly approved “Civil Union” have the right to file a NJ state tax return as “Married Filing Joint” beginning with the 2007 NJ-1040.
“Normal” married couples must file as either Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate (although there are circumstances in which a legally married individual with a dependent child living apart from his/her spouse can file as Head of Household). The DOT language does not make it clear whether the choices of participants in a “Civil Union” will be similarly limited – or whether they each can continue to file as Single (or Head of Household if there is a dependent), as they would have to do on their federal returns.
In the case of two-earner same-sex couples there may be a distinct financial disadvantage to filing as a Married individual – it is known as the “marriage penalty”.
New Jersey has also announced the details of the new NJ Homestead Property Tax Credit/Rebate program.
This new NJ Homestead Rebate replaces the NJ FAIR Rebate, which in turn replaced the NJ SAVER and old NJ Homestead Rebate.
The application process is the same as for the NJ FAIR and NJ SAVER rebates. Tenants have already submitted their application on Form TR-1040, which was part of the 2006 NJ-1040 filing. Homeowners will receive an application in the mail and apply either online or via telephone. Senior and disabled homeowners will receive their applications in May. Applications will be mailed to “normal” homeowners in June or July.
What changes is the amount of the rebates. Almost all “normal” tenants and homeowners will receive a much bigger amount than they did in 2006. Senior and disabled residents should receive at least the same amount as last year, with homeowners possibly receiving more.
The method of delivering the rebate may also change for non-senior and non-disabled homeowners. Instead of a check, if it can be done, the rebate will appear as a credit on their 3rd or 4th quarter real estate tax bill. Seniors and the disabled will continue to receive a check in early August.
I have posted detailed information on the new rebate program on the NJ UPDATE Page of my website. Information is also available on the NJ Division of Taxation website or by calling 1-888-238-1233 (Homeowners) or 609-292-6400 (Tenants).