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Supporting Our TroopsIncome Tax Filing Requirements -
Nonmilitary Spouses/Civil Union Partners of Military Personnel

Nonmilitary spouses/civil union partners whose domicile is New Jersey are residents for income tax purposes unless they meet the three qualifications for nonresident status. When a nonmilitary spouse/civil union partner who is a resident had income during the year, he or she must file a resident return.

Under the Federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (P.L. 111-97), a military servicemember's nonmilitary spouse/civil union partner is allowed to keep a tax domicile while moving from state to state, as long as he or she moves into a state to be with a spouse/civil union partner who is in the state on military orders.

If you are a nonmilitary spouse/civil union partner and you were domiciled outside New Jersey when you married (entered into a civil union), you are not considered a resident of New Jersey if:

  • The principal reason for moving to this State was the transfer of your military spouse/civil union partner; and
  • You maintain a domicile in another state; and
  • You intend to leave New Jersey when your military spouse/civil union partner is transferred or leaves the service.

Under the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, a nonmilitary spouse/civil union partner who meets these requirements is not subject to New Jersey income tax on earned income from services performed in New Jersey. However, such nonresident civilian spouse/civil union partner is subject to tax on all other types of income derived from New Jersey sources, such as gain from sale of property located in New Jersey.

Nonmilitary spouses/civil union partners whose wages are exempt from New Jersey income tax may claim an exemption from New Jersey income tax withholding by filing Form NJ-165, Employee’s Certificate of Nonresidence in New Jersey, with their employer. He or she must notify the employer if conditions for the withholding exemption no longer apply.

If New Jersey income tax was erroneously withheld from your wages or you erroneously made estimated tax payments, you must file a New Jersey nonresident return (Form NJ-1040NR) to get a refund. The income section of the New Jersey nonresident return has two columns - Column A, income from everywhere, and Column B, income from New Jersey sources. If you (and your military spouse/civil union partner if filing a joint return) had no income from New Jersey sources other than your own New Jersey wages, complete your nonresident return as follows:

  • Enter in Column A the amount of your income from everywhere (if filing a joint return, do not include the military pay of your spouse/civil union partner).
  • Enter zeros on the wages line and on the gross income line in Column B for the amount of income from New Jersey sources.
  • Enter the amount of New Jersey income tax withheld or estimated taxes paid on the appropriate line and complete the "overpayment" and "refund" lines.
  • Enclose a statement of explanation that references the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act along with a copy of your spousal military identification card. If filing a paper return, print “Military Spouse” in ink at the top of the return.

Note: A nonresident civilian spouse/civil union partner who lives outside New Jersey is subject to New Jersey income tax on wages earned in this State and may not use Form NJ-165 to claim exemption from New Jersey income tax withholding. The New Jersey wages, as well as any other income from New Jersey sources (e.g., gain from sale of property located in New Jersey), must be reported in both Column A and Column B of Form NJ-1040NR.

More information Income Tax Filing Requirements is available. For additional information on military personnel, see Tax Topic Bulletin GIT-7, Military Personnel.


Last Updated: Friday, 01/15/16



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