If you’re a non-resident selling investment real estate in New Jersey, there’s a unique NJ tax you should be aware of. Both residents and non-residents always had to pay income tax on the gain upon the sale of real estate. This tax is required to be withheld for non-residents. The “Exit Tax”, which came into law six years ago, requires the seller to file a GIT/REP form (Gross Income Tax form) in order to record a Deed for the transfer of his property. When a non-resident sells the property, New Jersey will withhold this income tax in the amount of either 8.97 percent of the profit or 2 percent of the total selling price, whichever is higher. Therefore, even if the property is sold at a loss, tax must be withheld to fulfill the two percent requirement.
You Can Recover Your Money
It’s important to realize that while the Exit Tax requires a substantial withholding, it doesn’t have any impact on the tax liability. When the seller eventually files his NJ tax return he is refunded the difference between what was withheld and what was owed. This recovery can be very significant when one factors in the selling costs and original purchase price, both of which reduce the taxable gain.
Estates Often Recover Most if Not All of the Tax Withheld
The recovery is often even greater in the case of real estate sold by an estate, as there is a step up in cost basis which would typically minimize a gain on the sale, often resulting in full recovery of the entire withholding. If a taxpayer has excess withholding it would be prudent to file Form NJ1040 (individual) or NJ1041 (estate) quickly to expedite the recovery of the excess withholding.
So who’s considered a “resident” and who’s a “non-resident” with regard to this tax? The law defines a resident taxpayer as one of the following:
- An individual who is and intends to continue to maintain a permanent place of abode (home, residence) in New Jersey on/after the day of transfer
- An estate established under the laws of New Jersey
- A trust established under the laws of New Jersey
A nonresident is simply defined as “any taxpayer that does not meet the definition of resident taxpayer.”