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By ARep | April 10th, 2014 - 9:15am
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Ciattarelli Requests OLS Study Estate Tax, Transfer Inheritance Tax and Pension Exclusion Laws

As the discussion continues on how to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live, work and retire, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said he is requesting the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to conduct a study that analyzes the State’s estate tax, transfer inheritance tax, and pension exclusion when filing an income tax return. Ciattarelli believes a comprehensive review of these tax laws will lead to reforms that will make New Jersey economically vibrant and more retirement friendly.

“A cost-benefit study of the impact of our tax laws is a critical first step in making our state more competitive and a place where people want to live and retire,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “There is no question that some of our tax laws drive people out of our state. If we are serious about addressing this ‘tax migration,’ a coalition of scholars, economists, tax and estate planning professionals, legislators and residents is needed to analyze the issue in an informed, non-partisan and objective way.”

Ciattarelli said the need to examine these taxes is urgently needed given the demographic reality that more baby boomers are reaching retirement age. When deciding where to live after retirement, taxes play a key role. If New Jersey does not address a retiree’s tax liability on his or her estate, transfer inheritance and pension, there is a better likelihood of their leaving the state for a more tax-friendly climate.

Ciattarelli noted that New Jersey is one of only 15 states that imposes an estate tax and, along with Maryland, is one of only two states that have both a transfer inheritance tax and an estate tax.

“For retirees, taxes play an important part in deciding where they choose to live,” explained Ciattarelli. “We cannot control the appeal of the weather some states enjoy. We can, however, stop incentivizing retirees to seek legal residency in another state. One way to do this is by repealing the estate tax, the transfer inheritance tax and increasing the state’s pension exclusion, for example, from $20,000 to $50,000.”

A person who declares residency in another state for six months plus one day (a majority of the year) falls under that state’s tax laws.

“If we don’t reform these areas of taxation, financial planners will continue to advise residents to live elsewhere for ‘six plus one,’” stated Ciattarelli. “What is the point of having retirement tax policies that everyone is legally avoiding? Making New Jersey more tax friendly will result in people staying in our state for a longer period which is good for our economy.

“Considering that New Jersey retirees continue to pay the most punitive tax of all – the property tax – we owe it to ourselves to have a public discussion on how to achieve fairness and make New Jersey more retirement friendly,” explained Ciattarelli. “I look forward to the OLS analysis and will follow up with three or four public forums, in connection with New Jersey universities, to discuss this important and very timely topic.”

Ciattarelli also announced that he intends to request similar comprehensive study packages from OLS on the State’s capital gains tax laws and public sector personnel policies that directly impact property taxes.

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