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Common Filing Mistakes

Filing your income tax can be challenging and it’s easy for mistakes to happen. These can delay your refund or result in a bill. Before sending in your tax return or responding to a notice, check your return for these common issues:

General

Credit for Taxes Paid to Other Jurisdictions

Non-Residents

Pennsylvania Residents

Part-Year Residents

Military

W-2

General

Did You…

  • Enter the correct social security number?
    If you enter the wrong number, you could be filing your return under another taxpayer’s social security number.
  • Enter the correct amount of income?
    Review all of your tax documents to make sure you haven’t missed anything. The wages you report on your New Jersey income tax return are shown in Box 16 of your W-2 and may be different from the amount of income in Box 1 which is the amount used on your Federal income tax return.

  • Type or write all figures correctly?
    Be careful not to add too many decimal places or use information from the same W-2 more than once. If something doesn’t look right and you don’t know how to fix it, contact your software provider or a tax professional.

  • Use the correct filing status?
    You should generally use the same filing status that you used when filing your Federal return. See our Tax Topic Bulletin GIT-4 Filing Status if you need help determining your filing status.

  • Claim a loss?
    We do not allow any negative numbers on your New Jersey income tax return. If you have a loss in any income category, enter “0.”

  • Enclose all W-2s and 1099s showing New Jersey income tax withheld?
    The amount of state withholdings you report on your New Jersey income tax return is shown in Box 17 of your W-2. Box 15 must also say “NJ” which indicates the withholdings were paid to New Jersey. If you file a paper tax return, make sure that you attach a copy of any tax form that shows New Jersey income tax withholdings. If you do not, you may receive a notice showing zero New Jersey income tax withholdings.

Credit for Taxes Paid to Other Jurisdictions

Did You…

  • Complete your New Jersey Schedule A, Form NJ-1040? If you lived in New Jersey and worked outside of the state, your income may be taxed by both New Jersey and another state, city, or town. You must complete Schedule A, Form NJ-1040 to:
    • Determine the amount of tax you may claim as a credit.
    • Reduce the amount of tax you owe to New Jersey.
  • Report income that is not taxable to both New Jersey and the other state, city, or town on your Schedule A, Form NJ-1040?
    Generally, Line 1 of your Schedule A should not include:
    • unemployment
    • social security
    • interest
    • dividends
    • capital gains
    • retirement benefits

    These are generally not taxable to both New Jersey and the other state, city, or town.
    See Tax Topic Bulletin GIT-3W Credit for Taxes Paid to Other Jurisdictions (Wage Income) for more information.

  • Correctly calculate the amount of your credit? The amount listed on Line 9a of your Schedule A should be the tax due on the amount on Line 1. This may be less than the actual tax paid to the other state, city, or town.

    Example: You earned $10,000 in wages from a job in New York and collected $1,000 of unemployment from New York. You paid $500 in income taxes to New York. Because unemployment is not taxed by both New Jersey and New York, you cannot enter $500 on Line 9a of your Schedule A. Instead, you must enter $455 on Line 9a ($10,000 of wages ÷ $11,000 total income) X $500 = $455

Non-Residents

Did you…

  • Sell a New Jersey residential property?
    If you sold the property after moving out of New Jersey, New Jersey income tax that was withheld at closing is reported on Line 46 of your New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR). This estimated payment is made to offset the tax due on any capital gain you made on the sale of your property. Be sure to read the Form NJ-1040NR instructions carefully so you correctly report any gain that is taxable to New Jersey. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to file a New Jersey Resident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040) and a New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR).

  • Receive income from a partnership?
    You should claim any tax paid on your behalf by a partnership on Line 47 of Form NJ-1040NR.
  • Work both inside and outside of New Jersey?
    If you received one W-2 showing all of your wages and cannot easily determine how much of your income was actually earned in New Jersey, complete Part II Allocation of Wage and Salary Income Earned Partly Inside and Outside New Jersey found on page 3 of Form NJ-1040NR.

Pennsylvania Residents

  • Are you a Pennsylvania resident?
    Due to the Reciprocal Personal Income Tax Agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey, wages paid to Pennsylvania residents are not subject to New Jersey income tax. This agreement applies to compensation from salaries, wages, tips, fees, commissions, bonuses and other remuneration received for services rendered as an employee.

If your employer withheld New Jersey income tax from your wages, you should:

    • File a New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR) to obtain a refund.
    • Enter “0” on Line 14, Column B of Form NJ-1040NR.
    • Enter your New Jersey income tax withholdings on Line 45 of the Form NJ-1040NR.
    • Include a signed statement declaring that you are a Pennsylvania resident.
    • Provide your employer with an Employee’s Certificate of Nonresidence in New Jersey, Form NJ-165, to stop the withholding of New Jersey income tax.

Part-Year Residents

Did you…

  • File the correct tax return?

If you lived in New Jersey for part of the year and earned more than $10,000 for the entire year ($20,000 if filing as Married Filing Jointly or Head of Household), you must file a part year income tax return using the New Jersey Resident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040). Unlike other states, New Jersey does not use a nonresident income tax return for part year residents. See the Form NJ-1040 instructions for more information.

  • Earn income from New Jersey before or after your part year residency?

If you earned income in New Jersey before you moved in or after you moved out, you may have to file a New Jersey Resident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040) and a New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR). See Tax Topic Bulletin GIT-6 Part-Year Residents for more information.

Military

Did you…

  • File the correct return?

You can only file a New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR) if you meet the three conditions for nonresident status.

  • Correctly report your military pay?

If you are a nonresident serviceperson, your military pay is not subject to New Jersey income tax and Line 14, Column B of Form NJ-1040NR should be zero. For more information about filing your tax return and reporting military pay, see Form NJ-1040NR instructions.

  • Know about the Federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act?

This act makes the wages of a nonmilitary spouse/civil union partner exempt from New Jersey income tax if:

    • You were domiciled outside of New Jersey when married or entered into a civil union with an Armed Forces member; and
    • Your principal reason for moving to New Jersey was your military spouse’s transfer; and
    • You maintain a domicile in another state; and
    • You intend to leave New Jersey when your military spouse/civil union partner is transferred or leaves the Armed Forces.

You should file Form NJ-165, Employee’s Certificate of Nonresidence, with your New Jersey employer to stop New Jersey income tax from being withheld from your wages. If an employer withheld taxes in error, you must file a New Jersey Nonresident Income Tax Return (Form NJ-1040NR) for a refund. For more information about nonmilitary spouses and civil union partners, see Tax Topic Bulletin GIT-7, Military Personnel.

W-2

Did you…

  • Make sure Box 15 says “NJ?”
    If Box 15 has another state or says “TOTAL STATE,” contact your employer for a New Jersey W-2 showing withholdings actually paid to New Jersey.

  • Use Box 16 when reporting your State wages on Line 14 of your tax return? DO NOT use Box 1. Box 1 is your Federal wages and may be different than Box 16.

  • Add any amount listed as FLI to your New Jersey withholdings?
    Your employer may report your contributions to Family Leave Insurance (FLI) under Box 17. This amount should not be added to your New Jersey income tax withholdings or reported on Line 48 of Form NJ-1040 (Line 45 of the Form NJ-1040NR). If you had two or more employers and you contributed more than the maximum required amount, you may take a credit for excess contributions by completing Form NJ-2450. If you worked for only one employer and that employer withheld too much, you must seek a refund from your employer.

Use our 2015 Sample W-2 as a reference.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 08/09/16



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