TRENTON – With the April 17 due date for filing individual income tax returns fast approaching, State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff urged taxpayers who have not yet submitted their returns to take advantage of New Jersey’s electronic filing options. He also reminded taxpayers that last-minute help with 2011 returns is available through the Division of Taxation’s Call Center and its Regional Offices around the state.
“Three out of four individual tax returns are now being filed electronically in New Jersey, and we urge everyone who can to choose the electronic option,” the Treasurer said. “Electronic filing makes it easier to file returns and speeds up payment of refunds.”
Taxpayers can use one of two “FastFile” options: NJ WebFile or NJ E-File. These easy-to-use systems make it possible to submit paperless returns either via the Internet or by using a computer software package. The Division of Taxation estimates that it takes three weeks to process refunds for returns filed electronically compared with six to eight weeks for those filed by mail. Electronic filers can also choose to receive their refunds via direct deposit, a choice that is not available to those filing paper returns.
The Treasurer also reminded taxpayers who owe tax not to overlook the advantages of making their payments electronically. “You can file now and pay at any time until midnight on April 17th,” Sidamnon-Eristoff said. New Jersey’s electronic payment methods include electronic check (e-check) and credit card. There is a credit card convenience fee that is paid directly to the payment processor.
Taxpayers who have filed their returns can use the Division of Taxation’s new online refund checking service, available at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/refinfo.shtml, to monitor the status of their refunds. In its first four weeks of operation, 63,000 filers accessed the service and received information about their refunds.
To avoid penalties and interest, individual income tax returns and payments for 2011 must be postmarked or submitted electronically by midnight on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, for most filers. This is the same as this year’s deadline for filing federal income tax returns.
To help taxpayers resolve last-minute problems with completing their returns, the Division of Taxation’s Customer Service Center and its Regional Office in Trenton will both be open extended hours on April 16 and 17. The Customer Service Center will be taking calls from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on those days, and the Trenton office at 50 Barrack Street will be open for walk-in customers.
Taxpayers can contact the Customer Service Center by calling 1-609-292-6400. They may also visit one of the Division of Taxation’s Regional Offices located throughout the state. Directions are available at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/ot1.shtml
Taxpayers who are facing financial difficulties and are struggling to meet their tax obligations can find information about available assistance on the Division of Taxation’s Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/helpwithdebt.shtml or by calling 1-609-292-6400.
Taxpayers who need more time to file their 2011 returns can request an extension: six months for a resident (Form NJ-1040) or non-resident (Form NJ-1040NR) return, and five months for a fiduciary (Form NJ-1041) return.
To obtain an extension, the request must be filed by the original due of the return (April 17 for most taxpayers). In addition, at least 80 percent of a filer’s actual New Jersey income tax must be paid by the April 17 due date in order to receive the extension. Mailed extension applications must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, April 17, 2012; online extension requests can be submitted until midnight on the due date. Anyone making a payment of tax due with an online extension must pay by e-check or credit card.
“Taxpayers must remember that an extension of time to file an income tax return is not an extension of time to pay the tax due under the Gross Income Tax Act,” Treasurer Sidamon-Eristoff explained. “Penalties and interest are imposed whenever tax is paid after the due date.”
Extension requests can be submitted online through the Division of Taxation’s Web site (www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/eservicesother.shtml#git) or by mail using the traditional paper form, Form NJ-630, Application for Extension of Time to File New Jersey Gross Income Tax Return, which can be printed from the Division of Taxation’s Web site (www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/prntgit.shtml).
Taxpayers who apply for an automatic extension of time to file their Federal returns may receive an extension for their New Jersey returns by including a copy of the Federal application when they submit their New Jersey income tax returns, provided they meet all other requirements (including the requirement that at least 80 percent of the actual New Jersey income tax liability be paid on or before the return due date). Taxpayers who file for a Federal extension but also need to make a payment of New Jersey tax by April 17 must submit Form NJ-630 with that payment or file and pay online.
The extension period for all resident and nonresident returns will end on October 15, 2012 (September 17, 2012, for fiduciary returns).