CPA survey: More than 50% have recommended business or individual leave N.J. because of tax rate

The annual United Van Lines survey that says more people are moving out of the state than moving in has been widely debunked and is frequently ridiculed. Both of which are fair reactions.

And those who insist residents are not fleeing New Jersey now point to the dramatic increase in population the state had in the last census — when N.J. came in at a higher-than-expected 9.2 million people.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to this: A recent survey by the widely respected New Jersey Society of CPAs of 440 certified public accountants found that more than 50% said they have advised an individual or business client to leave the state due to the high cost of living and doing business.

The survey, sponsored by Provident Bank, was conducted to gauge CPAs’ outlook on the national and New Jersey economies. It had a number of interesting findings, including:

  • 70% have advised an individual client (as opposed to a business client) to leave the state due to the high cost of living;
  • 60% said they saw an increase in the number of high-income clients who file as nonresidents of New Jersey;
  • Almost 70% saw a decrease in the number of high-income clients who have residency in the state.

Respondents pointed to New Jersey’s high property-tax and corporate-tax rates as among the top reasons for their beliefs.

Other top concerns for their businesses included the lack of availability of skilled personnel (48%), regulatory requirements (41%) and domestic economic conditions (38%).

They also said New Jersey businesses would benefit from more shared services among local governments in the state.

Ralph Thomas, the CEO of the NJCPA, said those in power need to take in these findings. He said his group is eager to help decision-makers find solutions.

“CPAs are on the frontlines of economic recovery steps in the state, and the NJCPA is eager to continue its work with lawmakers to foster a quick and strong rebound,” he said.

Gregory Dittrich, the director of government banking, small business & escrow at Provident Bank, said respondents noted several areas where New Jersey’s state government could assist businesses over the next 12 months. This included avoiding excessive regulations and investing in infrastructure improvements.

“The New Jersey Legislature needs to listen to the needs of the business community in the state,” he said. “Only by working together can we truly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prosper.”

On a broader scale, respondents were evenly split in their view of the economic outlook for New Jersey for the rest of 2021 compared to the first five months, with 36% saying the economy would get worse and 35% noting it would get better.

They were slightly more optimistic about the U.S. economy, with 43% saying the national economy will improve.