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Field Investigations


This Branch performs the tax collection and enforcement work for the Division.  Field Investigators are assigned to field offices geographically distributed around the State and thus are able to visit businesses and homes to gain compliance.  Having the flexibility to travel and observe a situation, Field Investigations is involved in all aspects of tax compliance from the initial contact with a new business to the seizure and sale of assets from an uncooperative taxpayer.  When the other branches are unsuccessful in their collection efforts, cases are forwarded to Field Investigations for action.  Field Investigations works closely with all sections of the Division to enhance voluntary tax compliance by taking the tax enforcement actions appropriate to the situation. For enhanced administrative purposes the Branch is subdivided into Northern and Southern jurisdictions. As of March 5, 2007 the functions of the Special Projects Branch were consolidated under the authority of Field Investigations.

View the Division's Regional Offices.

Out-of-State Businesses – Investigators within the branch work cooperatively with the New Jersey State Police, inspectors from the Division of Motor Vehicles and local law enforcement agencies at weigh stations and vehicle and emission sites to check out-of-state commercial vehicles.  Investigators also check site locations, such as construction sites and warehouses in order to uncover non-registered or non-compliance out-of-state vendors. In-state vendors are also checked for tax compliance.

When necessary to protect the State’s interest, investigators utilize the authority granted in N.J.S.A. 54:49-5, and 54:49-7 to make a jeopardy assessment and demand immediate payment.  Failure to satisfy the jeopardy assessment may result in immediate seizure of available assets.  Companies subject to the jeopardy assessment process have ninety (90) days from the date of the action to appeal the jeopardy assessment.  (Appeal Rights).

Canvassing/Educating of businesses is an important part of the work for Field Investigators. Investigators constantly check for new businesses in strip malls or on main streets while traveling between scheduled visits and stop in to verify proper registration and understanding by the business owner of their tax responsibilities. Transient vendors at the flea markets, art and craft shows, entertainment venues or special events are also regularly canvassed, even on the weekends, for registration and tax compliance purposes. If necessary, to combat the underground cash economy, the statutory authority to issue an on-the-spot jeopardy assessment is utilized for the uncooperative transient vendor.

Municipal Court Program is active in the prosecution of some tax violations as disorderly persons offenses (quasi-criminal) in the Trenton Municipal Court. The focus is on chronic offenders who fail to file and/or pay sales tax or income tax, but the failure to register an operating business or to have proper licenses are also grounds for prosecution. A guilty finding or plea will result in an order by the judge to make restitution in addition to the assessment of court fines, costs and a term of probation or jail.

Tax Enforcement involves personal contact with businesses and individuals to explain the progressive steps and actions that will be taken by Field Investigations in order to secure delinquent tax returns and tax underpayments, registrations and licenses. If the taxpayer is not cooperative, the Field Investigator will issue the due process notices required prior to obtaining a Certificate of Debt, an administrative judgment, to protect the State’s interest. With a Certificate of Debt filed with the NJ Superior Court, the Field Investigator will generate a Warrant of Execution in order to act to collect the tax debt. Before the seizure of a vehicle, a liquor license or the business itself, a final warning is given to the taxpayer encouraging payment arrangements. Thereafter, with continued non-compliance, the personal and business assets of the tax debtor are subject to seizure and subsequent sale at public auction. At any point prior to the auction sale, the taxpayer is encouraged to discuss payment options and to formalize a plan to pay the tax debt.

Audit/Criminal Referrals are prepared for consideration whenever questionable business or financial activity is identified by the Field Investigators in the course of their work.

Division's Organizational Chart

Last Updated: Thursday, 10/14/10



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