What to do if you paid sales tax during the New Jersey back-to-school vacation

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TRENTON — New Jersey’s back-to-school sales tax exemption has passed. But if you were charged the tax incorrectly, you still have ways to get that money back, although it may require some paperwork.

What was zero-rated?

The sales tax exemption ran from August 27 to September 5. It will be repeated next year, as the law establishing the program makes it an annual feature and not a one-time event.

Zero-rated items included:

Computers with a sale price of less than $3,000.

School computer supplies whose selling price is less than $1,000, such as computer storage media, floppy disks and compact discs; electronic pocket organizers; personal digital assistants, computer printers; and printer supplies like paper and ink. Mobile phones are specifically excluded.

School art supplies commonly used by a student in an art class, such as clay and glazes, paints including acrylic, tempera and oil, brushes for artwork, watercolors and sketching and drawing blocks.

School teaching materials such as reference books, maps and globes, textbooks and exercise books.

School supplies such as binders, tape, composition books, folders including stretch, pocket, plastic and manila, index cards and boxes therefor, pencil boxes, pens, protractors, bags books, blackboard chalk, pencils, glue, clay and clay sticks, markers, lunch boxes, notepads, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, pencils, calculators, compasses, erasers eraser, highlighters, paper including loose leaf, copy, graph, tracing, manila, color, construction and poster, writing tablets, rulers and scissors.

Sports or leisure equipment worn in conjunction with a specific activity that is not suitable for general use, such as ballet and tap shoes, goggles, mouth guards, roller skates and ice skates; shin guards, shoulder pads, ski boots, cleated or spiked sports shoes, hand or elbow guards, life jackets and vests, waders, baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey and golf gloves, coveralls and diving fins and bicycle or sports helmets.

What if you were incorrectly charged sales tax?

The State Treasury Department advises that if sales tax was incorrectly collected by the seller, a customer may request a refund of the tax paid directly from the seller.

If that doesn’t work, they can request a refund from the Tax Division. There is a claim form to complete – Form A-3730 – and file within four years from the date the tax was paid.

As part of this filing, the individual must provide an explanation and submit supporting documentation to support the claim. Documentation includes items such as copies of invoices, receipts and proof of taxes paid.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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