First Timers: How to File Your Taxes in NJ

taxes in NJ

If this is your first year filing taxes, you might be unsure of where to begin. New Jersey residents face a specific challenge as the third in the nation for state and local tax burden. It is important to file correctly so you can ensure you are getting the max return possible. Receiving your W-2 is only the first step in the process. What do you do with all those numbers? Here are some steps to ensure your first time filing taxes goes smoothly.

First, you will need to gather all necessary paperwork and make sure it is correct. Look at your W-2 to make sure personal information, employer information, and reported income and withholdings are correct. If you are missing a W-2, you need to reach out to your employer directly or seek help from the IRS. Even if you do not receive your W-2 before the April deadline, you will still need to file. Form 4852 allows you to report income from a W-2 you are not in possession of. You may need more than just your W2. Other documents might include receipts from charity donations or student loan servicer statements.

Once you have all of your correct documentation, you will need to decide how to file. New Jersey recognizes the following filing statuses:

Single: if you are unmarried or not part of a civil union, if you are not a widow(er), and if you are not the head of household.

Married and civil union couples: If you’re married or part of a civil union by the final day of the tax year. You can file jointly or separately.

Head of household: This status can be used if you are not married but you cover more than half the living expenses for yourself and at least one other person.

Qualifying widow(er) or surviving civil union partner: You will qualify for this if your spouse or civil partner has passed during the tax year and you did not marry before the end of the tax year.

You will also need to decide if you want to file with help or on your own. You can file your NJ state taxes online for free with the state’s Division of Taxation filing portal. You can also file on your own through an approved software vendor or by mailing in a paper return. If you think you need more help, or want to make sure you aren’t missing out on any tax credits, you can get the help of a paid tax preparer. However you file, take your time and make sure all the information is entered correctly.

Once you’ve filed your taxes, you can track the status of your state and federal tax refund online. If you end up owing money to the state and can’t pay the full amount immediately, the state provides payment plans ranging from three to sixty months. You can face penalties and fees if you either don’t file or don’t make payments towards the taxes you owe.

Filing taxes in NJ can be easy once you know what to expect. File your return today so you can spend the rest of tax season breathing easy!