“Go to Jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go and collect $200”, is one of the ‘Take a Chance’ (cards) made infamous by the game of Monoply1. The game features property with names like Park Place, Boardwalk, Marvin Gardens, Saint James Place, and numerous others all based upon streets or places to be found in Atlantic City New Jersey (at least at the time the game was created.) This fact makes the game seem all the more real to avid players, of course, those real-life places including Atlantic City are all to be found within the State of New Jersey along with Tony Soprano (a fictitious gangster portrayed by the late/great James Gandolfini, who also lived in New Jersey prior to his death) and Chris Christie, the Governor of the State.
And so that brings us to the real New Jersey, the fourth smallest state in the United States at only 8,722 square miles (hardly bigger than my pasture), but the state with the highest population density including more than 8.9-million residents. If you do the math that is more than 1200 per square mile. Even though the state has 21 counties, they are all classified as metropolitan areas, how could they be otherwise with so many people in such a small space. New Jersey also happens to be the state with the 2nd largest median household income due in part to its own industrial base as well as its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to inhabit what is now New Jersey, later the area would become a territory of England until joining as one of the 13 Colonies that revolted against British rule. New Jersey passed its constitution on July 2, 1776. During the Revolutionary War both British and American forces skirmished in New Jersey which General George Washington considered the ‘Crossroads of the Revolution.’ During the night of December 25-26, 1776, the Continental Army crossed the Delaware River under the command of General Washington. The artist’s rendition of that event has made it even more decisive than the actual event.
While our first president obviously spent some time in New Jersey he couldn’t call the state home, but President Grover Cleveland was a native of New Jersey. Even though not born in New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson served as governor of the state. Arron Burr of Newark served as the third Vice President of the US.
Industrialization accelerated in New Jersey during the 1800s, much of the American Industrial Revolution was centered upon cities like Trenton, Newark, Paterson, Camden and Elizabeth. Thomas Edison not only invented the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture projector in his Menlo Park lab, but he was also granted more than 1000 patents while working there. Christie Street in Menlo Park was the first street in the world to have electric lighting. Iron mining was a leading industry, with mines at Mt. Hope, Mine Hill and Rockaway Valley creating jobs for thousands of mine workers.
During both World War I and World War II, New Jersey was a hub of war production especially in terms of military ships such as battleships, destroyers, cruisers and PT Boats along with various military armaments. Just prior to the outbreak of hostilities by Germany the U.S. Naval Air Station in Lakehurst New Jersey was the American hub for the Zeppelin Company; but on May 6, 1937 as the passenger airship LZ-129 approached the mooring mast, a sudden explosion destroyed not only the Hindenburg, but the entire future of ‘lighter than air travel’, the days of the airship were over ‘in a bang’ literally.
Today New Jersey is the largest seaport state, industrial state and chemical producing state in the U.S., in fact one-sixth of all pharmaceuticals manufactured in the U.S. are made in New Jersey. The Brooklyn Bridge and several other suspension bridges in the U.S. were built by a Trenton, NJ wire rope factory owner and his sons.
The Jersey Shore is the coastal region of the state, and is famous for its many boardwalks with arcades, water parks, and amusement parks. The area is referred to simply as 'the Shore' by New jersey residents, but it is a popular vacation spot with not only state residents but young people from new Yorkers and Pennsylvanians.In reality New Jersey is home to more than 50 resort cities and towns, and Cape May is the oldest seashore resort in the United States.
Here is an interesting fact, New Jersey has more diners and shopping malls per capita than anywhere else in the world, of course they are an important source of Sales Tax revenues for the state.
About Sales Taxes and this series:
Thanks to Avalara, the 'tax people', this article is one in a 50 part series covering sales tax issues associated with each and every state tax jurisdiction in the United States. We’re publishing "Sales Tax Tuesday" every week through 2015.
Sales tax provides critical revenue for states. Other than property and income tax, sales tax is the largest source of tax revenue in the majority of the 46 states that collect it. From a government perspective, making sure every sales tax dollar is collected, through audits, fines, penalties rates and rules, is an exercise for income. It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of compliance when it comes to sales tax, this series is intended to insure that you are aware of the key sales tax facts for YOUR state.
Sales Tax Facts
- New Jersey’s state sales tax rate is 7%. It is one of the few single rate states that doesn’t allow local jurisdictions to impose sales tax. The exceptions are Atlantic City, which has a 9% luxury tax on certain sales, a 3% tax on alcoholic beverage sales and a 1% tax on room rentals, and Cape May County which assesses a 2% tourism tax on lodging, restaurants, and amusements in addition to state sales tax.
- New Jersey has 32 Urban Enterprise Zones covering economically distressed cities. Certified businesses within these zones are exempt from sales tax and qualifying retailers may charge half the current sales tax rate or 3.5%.
- New Jersey is a destination sourcing states. This means that sales tax is based on the location of the buyer, not the seller.
- New Jersey is a member of Streamlined Sales Tax (SST)
- Amazon.com owns and operates a fulfillment center in New Jersey. This may create nexus (a sales tax obligation) for sellers participating in Amazon’s Seller Central and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) programs.
- Anyone making retail sales in the Garden State, including seasonal or “one-time” vendors, are required to register with the state.
- Out-of-state businesses believing they do not have nexus in NJ must file form NJ-REG.
- Sales and use tax returns must be filed electronically in New Jersey. It not necessary to file and remit payments for periods in which less than $500 is due. Businesses that collected more than $30,000 in sales and use tax during the preceding calendar year must file monthly returns.
Did You Know?
Trick or Treat? Plan to carve that pumpkin into Jack o’ Lantern? Be prepared to pay sales tax. Want to save a few pennies? Make it into a pie. New Jersey charges tax on pumpkins that are painted, cut or sold as decorations but not ones used for food.
Go Green in the Garden State. Economy wheels not your thing? You’ll pay for that luxury ride in New Jersey. Buy or lease a car that costs $45,000 or more or has a combined EPA fuel-mileage average of 19 or below and you’ll pay an additional 0.4% on top of New Jersey’s 7% sales tax.
Colorful commentary. In New Jersey, spray paint may not be sold without a posted sign warning juveniles of the penalty for creating graffiti.
Manual sales and use taxes are prone to error and can consumes hours of your time in collection, accounting and reporting for what is pass-through rather than revenue-generating activities. Avalara provides solutions for sales tax automation, including tax calculation, exemption certificate management, returns processing and 1099 filing and reporting. Automation via Avatax allows businesses to be fully sales tax compliant without sacrificing productivity.
Footnotes and Credits:
1 - Monopoly Game (and monopoly playing pieces and game cards) are the registered trademark and copyright of Hasbro Corporation.