Property tax appeals are related to the assessed value of your property and any improvements thereon. In order to appeal a property assessment, the taxpayer must file a property tax appeal in the County where the property is located. First, it should be noted that if the property assessment is over $1,000,000.00, the taxpayer has the option of filing their appeal in either the Tax Court of New Jersey, or in the County Board of Taxation of the county where the property is located. On the other hand, if the property assessment is $1,000,000 or less, the taxpayer must file with the County Board of Taxation. Tax appeals must be filed annually on or before April 1st, or within 45 days of the bulk mailing of Assessment Notices, or on May 1st where a municipal-wide revaluation or municipal-wide reassessment has been implemented.
Once filed, a hearing before the County Tax Board is scheduled. It is important to note that individual taxpayers are permitted to represent themselves; however, business entities must be represented by an attorney. At the time of the hearing, the burden is on the taxpayer or tax-paying business entity to prove that the assessment is in error, unreasonable, excessive, or discriminatory. To do so, the taxpayer or tax-paying entity should provide credible evidence supporting their claims. For example, photographs of the subject property and comparable properties are typically useful in illustrating your argument. Additionally, comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in your neighborhood are also relevant and helpful for the reviewing board. When determining whether a comparable property is similar enough to yours, important factors to look for are the sale price, square footage of the living area measured from the exterior, lot size, proximity to your property, zoning use, age, construction, and style of the structure. Oftentimes an expert appraiser is needed for valuing commercial properties and improvements. Further, if you are claiming that special circumstances are present, such as an inability to further develop the property, credible evidence proving those claimed circumstances should also be presented.
It is crucial to take the time to carefully analyze and consider whether to file a property tax appeal, as in New Jersey, a municipality has the right to file a counterclaim to seek an increase in your assessment if it determines that you are actually under-assessed.
If you are considering filing a property tax appeal and have any question or concerns, or would like assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Ward, Shindle & Hall.