TRENTON – New Jersey’s back-to-school sales tax holiday has come and gone. But if you were charged the tax improperly you still have ways to get that money back, though it could take some paperwork.

What was tax free?

The sales tax holiday ran from Aug. 27 through Sept. 5. It will be repeated next year, as the law establishing the program makes it a yearly feature, not a one-time event.

The tax-free items included:

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

School computer supplies with a sales price of less than $1,000, such as computer storage media, diskettes and compact disks; handheld electronic schedulers; personal digital assistants, computer printers; and printer supplies like paper and ink. Cell phones are specifically excluded.

School art supplies commonly used by a student in an art course, such as clay and glazes, paints including acrylic, tempera and oil, paintbrushes for artwork, watercolors, and sketch and drawing pads.

School instructional materials such as reference books, maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks.

School supplies such as binders, cellophane tape, composition books, folders including expandable, pocket, plastic and manila, index cards and boxes for them, pencil boxes, pens, protractors, book bags, blackboard chalk, crayons, glue, paste and paste sticks, markers, lunch boxes, legal pads, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, pencils, calculators, compasses, erasers, highlighters, paper including loose-leaf, copy, graph, tracing, manila, colored, construction and poster board, writing tablets, rulers and scissors.

Sport or recreational 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 athletic shoes, hand or elbow guards, life preservers and vests, waders, gloves for baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey and golf, wetsuits and fins and bike or sports helmets.

What if you were wrongly charged sales tax?

The state Treasury Department says if the sales tax was incorrectly collected by the seller, a customer can request a refund of the tax paid directly from the seller.

If that doesn’t work, they can request a refund from the Division of Taxation. There’s a claim form to fill out – Form A-3730 – and file within four years from the date of the payment of the tax.

As part of that filing, the person must provide an explanation and submit supporting documentation to substantiate the claim. Documentation includes items such as copies of invoices, receipts and proof of tax paid.


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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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