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Property Tax Appeal Season Is Up

Date: January 15, 2016

As a result of the fluctuations in the property values in New Jersey, many of us are paying taxes on values that are no longer accurate. Generally speaking, tax appeals must be filed annually on or before April 1st or within 45 days of the mailing of the municipal assessment notice, whichever is later. As the taxpayer, the burden is on you to prove that your assessment is in error, unreasonable, excessive, or discriminatory. You must suggest a more appropriate value by proving to the Tax Board the true value of the property as of October 1 of the pretax year. To proceed with an appeal, all taxes and municipal charges must be paid in full and must be kept current during the appeals process. Any taxes or assessments in arrears may cause your appeal to be dismissed.

If I recently bought my property, is the purchase price considered?
Yes, but it does not dictate a change in assessment. Uniformity of treatment requires that value adjustments not be made simply due to a recent sales price. The subject property’s sales price may not necessarily be conclusive evidence of true market value and is not binding upon the Tax Board. However, the circumstances surrounding a sale are always important.

How do I know if I am eligible for a tax appeal and what do I need to do?
Call us and we will explain the process to you in just a few minutes.

Are there any consultation fees?
No, consultations regarding property tax appeals are completely free.

What are common reasons why people appeal their property taxes?
Decline in Value (If you believe the market value for your property has declined and is no longer as high as the equalized assessed value) Change in Ownership (If you believe the market value of your property is less than the equalized assessed value based upon a change of ownership); New Construction (If you believe that the market value of your property based upon completion of new construction in the area is less than the equalized assessed value); Calamity Reassessment (If your property has experienced a misfortune or calamity that has decreased the market value).

How much will it cost to file an appeal?
The cost of filling is paid by our office and is included as part of the contingency fee agreement. While the service of an expert is your option, the cost to retain and any fees for preparation of the expert reports is your expense. However, we will pay for the reasonable cost associated with having your expert testify at trial.

What areas do you service?
Our tax appeal practice is limited to New Jersey municipalities.

When is the deadline for appealing property taxes?
Tax appeals must be filed annually on or before April 1st or within 45 days of the mailing of the municipal assessment notice, whichever is later.

How long does the appeal take?
Property tax appeals are usually heard in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the tax year which is under appeal. The appeals process ordinarily concludes before the 4th quarter of the tax year.

How long will a successful tax appeal stand for?
Following a successful tax appeal the equalized assessed value of the property, provided no improvements are made to the property, will be set for the year of the appeal and the following two years, or three years in total.

If I recently refinanced my property, I am still eligible for a tax appeal?
Yes, a refinance does not affect your eligibility to file a property tax appeal. A refinance may actually provide my office with helpful information regarding your appeal.

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About the Author

Attorney James A. Abate practices Criminal Defense, DWI Defense, Business Litigation, Real Estate & Personal injury cases in Union County, New Jersey.