TRENTON – The tax filing deadline was Monday – but people who neglected to claim their child tax credit or earned income tax credit can still file amended or late returns to get the money for which they’re eligible.

New Jersey Citizen Action says residents who owe no tax payments can file late returns with no penalties and can claim refunds up to three years after Tax Day. It runs a free tax preparation program that can help people check their eligibility.

In an online news conference, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said it could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

“For all those eligible and newly eligible under the expansions, that you can still take advantage of those credits as well as the federal tax child care credit, even though Tax Day has passed,” Coughlin said.

The United Way of Northern New Jersey says that as of last fall, there were 138,000 families in New Jersey eligible for federal child tax credits who hadn’t received them. The credits are $3,000 or $3,600 per child, depending on their age, and amounted to over $415 million in unclaimed credits statewide.

“That is a staggering number,” said state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “These are resources that could be a critical lifeline for families struggling to put food on the table or provide school supplies or just keep a roof over their heads.”

Muoio said it’s a matter of publicizing the programs and that if everyone people knew about them, participation would be 100%.

So far for 2021, more than 428,000 New Jersey earned income tax credit claims have been paid, totaling more than $330 million. But the state has expanded eligibility in recent years to include people as young as age 18 and people over age 65.

Renee Koubiadis, anti-poverty program director for New Jersey Citizen Action, said low-income families who don’t typically file a return could still benefit.

“Many New Jersey families have still not claimed these tax credits that could mean thousands of dollars to help them not only to survive in our high-cost state but thrive,” Koubiadis said.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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