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New Jersey taxpayers could face three-month wait for refunds

The problematic 2013 tax filing season is extending to state returns. At least that's the case for some filers in New Jersey.

That's right Garden State residents. You're already dealing with tax issues connected to Hurricane (or Superstorm, you pick the title you prefer) Sandy, both on federal and state filings.

3 month delay in New Jersey tax refundsWhile these special disaster tax considerations could help you get more refund money to use toward your storm damage repairs, around 13,000 New Jerseryites will have to wait up to three months for their tax cash.

The delay is the result of an effort by the state's Treasury Department to reduce what it says is the growing problem of tax-refund identity fraud.

And that three-month wait is this week's By the Numbers figure.

Edward Ricciardi, managing member of the Central Jersey Tax Services accounting firm in Howell, told the Asbury Park Press (via CPA Practice Advisor) that every client who is due a refund of more than $1,000 from the state has received a letter saying that their refund was being delayed.

New Jersey Treasury Department spokesman Bill Quinn said the fraud screening is an expansion begun last year that focused on people receiving the state's Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, payments. 

The problem isn't taxpayers trying to claim inflated EITC refunds. Rather, New Jersey tax officials are looking to stop EITC claims by identity thieves using stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent claims before the real taxpayers file.

To ensure the claims are legitimate, New Jersey tax officials are asking for added documentation, such as W-2 forms, recent payroll stubs and copies of Social Security numbers used on the return.

Some taxpayers suspect that the delay is a ploy for the New Jersey to hang onto residents' tax money for as long as possible. After all, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did acknowledge that the state's plan to postpone the usual May payment of property tax credits until August was a cash-flow strategy that pushes millions in spending from the current state budget year into next year.

But, say New Jersey officials, the delay of state tax refunds is just about preventing fraudulent tax filings. "If there's a possible question about a refund, it's better to stop it before it's paid than to try to recover it after it's been paid," Quinn said.

Honest taxpayers no doubt agree with the state's goal to end tax fraud.

But those who are waiting an extra 90 days for their legitimate refunds no doubt wish the state could find an more expeditious way to combat tax filing crime.

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It's now Nov. We filed our taxes in Feb. They asked for documentation to prove our kids are really ours... So we provided all the documentation and 8 months later nothing. We have not even been processed or accepted. Our federal taxes went through no problem and we never had a problem in the past. I have no idea who they decide to "check" for fraud. We have 2 kids, and nothing has changed for 11 years. It's ridiculous and unfair. I'm so aggravated since we rely on our refund.

Maureen Heines

We filed out state return in April and on time. It's now the end of October and we still haven't received our return of ~$400. We aren't sure whom to contact either. The online website to check the status of our return says it's not in their system yet. The only other contact information we have is a 1-800 phone number which is also all automated, and also says that our information is not in the system. Does anyone know who I can contact to find out what's going on here?

Joe and Brooke McGowan

That's ridiculous...It has nothing to do with fraud! The state is borrowing our money for some reason! I am waiting on a return of less than 1000, and I still got the notice asking for me my husband and my son's information. Which we immediately sent them everything requested, and we sent it certified mail. It took over a month to receive the little slip you get back through the mail saying they got it. Although on line it said they had it two days after I sent it. I have sent them messages through the website numerous times, and I finally got a response almost 6 wks later. I won't even waste your time by copying in here the response I got back because it was an insult to my intelligence and yours. But basic message said they didn't know if they got my stuff, they wouldn't know for quite some time, and they don't know whether I will ever receive my return or not! I wish the rest of you the best of luck with your returns and hopefully you will have better luck than I have.

Barbara O'Neill

20 weeks and counting for me as of 6/17 to get a $3,801 NJ tax refund. Filed twice. Still no money. USPS says second return was received in Trenton on 4/19. Don't know what happened to first one. Decreased our tax withholding and estimated taxes for 2013 so this will never happen again!!!!

LK - very disappointed in the state workers

I filed my tax refund mid-February. I followed-up and then sent an e-mail electronically which says someone will get back to me. Never heard from anyone. Followed-up again and no response again after another 6-8 week. I called a few times and finally received a person who was able to explain because I got divorced in NJ, they flagged my taxes as they wanted me to provide my proof of a name change that the state has on record. Sent the required confirmation to my maiden name (which should be on record since I was not married before, and sent it 3 weeks ago. It is now June 12 and it follows suit, they don't have the money like CA. They never sent me a card telling me why it was delayed or what they needed. It is another reason to get out of NJ; taxes are out of control and the family law needs to be revamped. Any man getting divorced in NJ, watch out. The state laws are from the 1950's and responsible people get screwed. In this case, the women can get screwed when responsible so I need my return too.... economy, putting 50-60 hours a week to keep my job, etc with no overtime pay. I don't understand as I wouldn't keep it if I processed paperwork this slow. I am very disappointed!


I still haven't received my refund and it was received by NJ on 2-22-13, I have called numerous times and no one can explain why it is taking so long. The state will not even acknowledge the return has been accepted. I have sent in a duplicate as well, thinking the first one was lost in the mail. Nope, Nothing. I have not received any paperwork requesting additional documentation for fraud purposes. The state can not even tell me if I will get my money this year. I do not believe it's because of fraud, but because of lack of funds for NJ to spend some more.


I am due near 12k in a refund from NJ; on significant payment to a state I don't live in. I filed on time and not a peep out of these guys.

Obviously i'm not looking for some EIC or other handout. I just want what I overpaid on taxes held against a home I sold. Lets go NJ ....

Jersey Display Case

That's really interesting. Fortunately I was able to get my refund already. It feels so good!


It's hard to say what the answer is to the tax fraud identity theft problem. If the refund is paid out to a thief, it's nearly impossible to recover it. That makes it money gone that all taxpayers have to pay for in some way or another. Until some fast solution is available, we'll all need to just accept a slowdown for refunds.

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