Lampitt, Schaer, Mosquera, Benson & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Provide Tax Relief to Those Caring for Elderly Relatives Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt Gary S. Schaer, Gabriela Mosquera, Daniel J. Benson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to provide a tax credit to those who take in and support an older family member was released on Thursday by an Assembly panel.

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt Gary S. Schaer, Gabriela Mosquera, Daniel J. Benson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to provide a tax credit to those who take in and support an older family member was released on Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-1855), designated as the Caregiver's Assistance Act, provides a gross income tax credit to qualified caregivers, including resident taxpayers and resident individuals, who pay or incur qualified care expenses for the care and support of a qualifying senior family member residing with the caregiver at the caregiver's permanent place of abode in this state.

"Those who provide older loved ones with care and support meet a critical need of the state's aging population," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "There is no question that allowing seniors to remain in their own communities for longer periods of time can improve their overall quality of life and reduce the demand for long-term care services."

"The efforts of family caregivers are so critical yet typically go unnoticed," said Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen). "The credit provided by the bill will alleviate a portion of the overall cost associated with providing in-home care to elderly relatives, and illuminate the critical role family caregivers' play in supporting the health and well-being of the state and its senior residents."

The bill (A-1855), designated as the Caregiver's Assistance Act, provides a gross income tax credit to qualified caregivers, including resident taxpayers and resident individuals, who pay or incur qualified care expenses for the care and support of a qualifying senior family member residing with the caregiver at the caregiver's permanent place of abode in this state.

"We must recognize and provide financial assistance to our residents who provide uncompensated care and support to elderly relatives," said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). "Their work often has significant impacts on the emotional and financial health of those providing care."

"This is long overdue recognition and much-needed financial help for caregivers who devote their time to taking caring of another," said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "They enrich lives by helping a family member who needs care as they grow older."

"Growing older should not mean that you grow a part from the community you call home," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "It's only right that we help the caregivers who selflessly step up and support a person in need. Caregivers deserve the tax break this bill would provide them."

The bill stipulates that qualified caregivers must have gross income that does not exceed $100,000, or $50,000 if married or a civil union partner filing separately or if unmarried, not a partner in a civil union and not filing or eligible to file as head of household or as a surviving spouse for federal income tax purposes, to be allowed the credit.

As provided in the bill, the amount of the credit is equal to 22.5 percent of the qualified care expenses paid or incurred by the qualified caregiver during the taxable year for the care and support of a qualifying senior family member that are not in excess of $3,000. The bill's limitation on the amount of qualified care expenses caps the maximum amount of each credit at $675 per year.

The credit is in addition to the benefit of the dependent deduction that may be received by the qualified caregiver for claiming the qualifying senior family member as a dependent on the caregiver's gross income tax return. Also in the bill, the credit is refundable: the amount of any credit that reduces the qualified caregiver's tax liability to an amount less than zero is required to be refunded to the caregiver as an overpayment of tax. The bill specifies that a qualified caregiver is eligible to receive the benefits of the credit, even if the caregiver has gross income below the statutory minimum subject to tax.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee, of which Lampitt is chair.