The 2013 NJ Tax Assessment Appeal Season Is HERE...

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At Metro Residential Appraisals, Inc. we understand the Tax Assessment appeal process in the state of New Jersey and are ready to assist you. Call or email us now!

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Critical Dates to the Tax Appeal Process

All Tax Appeal Applications must be filed to Your County Tax Board by April 1st, Unless your municipality has been re-assessed then your deadline is extended to May 1, 2013.

 

Though the process is generally called a "Tax Appeal", in fact you are not actually appealing your property taxes. Rather you are appealing the assessment that was placed on your property by the tax assessor in your municipality.

One of the first steps we do in the process is gather information from you, the homeowner of your property and the Tax Assessment information you have received from your municipality. At this point you can made an informed decision if it would be beneficial to move forward with the Tax Appeal process.

 

Important Facts:

A. Tax appeals are on your Assessments only, not taxes.

B. Tax appeals must be timely filed before April 1, 2013 (December 1 for ADDED or OMITTED ASSESSMENTS) for the 2013 tax year. Timely filed means received by the Board of Taxation, not merely postmarked.

C. The Homeowner must know and prove the true market value of the appealed property as of October 1 pre tax year.

D. True Market Value is determined by:

1. Sales Comparison

2. Capitalization of Income

3. Replacement Cost

E. All evidence must be submitted to the Assessor and the Tax Board at least seven days prior the hearing.

F. If an appraisal is to be used as evidence, the appraiser must be present to testify.

G. In order for your case to be heard, all real estate taxes and municipal charges up to and including the February 1 payment must be current. Failure to comply, will result in your case being dismissed.

Below are outlined steps of the process:

STEP # 1

A Homeowner wishing to file an appeal should consider the following questions:.

1. What was the true market value of my property on the preceding assessment date of October 1, 2012 ?

2. Can I support my conclusion of true market value with credible evidence?

3. Is my property assessed in excess of its true market value if a reassessment or revaluation was implemented in the current tax year?

4. In a non revaluation or non reassessment year, does the ratio of my property assessment to its true market value exceed the upper limit of the common level range?

It is the Homeowner's burden to prove the assessment placed on your home is incorrect. As home values have decreased over recent years, this does not automatically mean the local Tax Assessor will lower your Home Assessment. It is the job of the local Tax Assessor to keep the assessment as high as possible in order to keep as much of this revenue stream coming into your Municipality.

In some municipalities in New Jersey, revalued / reassessed districts have taken place. This means the Township has hired a company to place a new assessment value on your home in a " Mass Appraisal " process. If the hired personnel have measured your home incorrectly or did not have the opportunity to make a visual observation of the interior of your home the value is made on assumptions. This practice allows the possibility for errors, which could lead to an over assessment of your property.

What is the basis for my assessment?

In order for an assessment to be deemed excessive or discriminatory, a taxpayer must prove that an assessment does not fairly represent one of two standards:

1. All assessments must represent 100% of true market value as of the previous October 1 , in a year following a revaluation or reassessment. The October 1 pretax date is called the annual "assessment date."

2. In a non revaluation or non reassessment year, the assessment must exceed the common level range determined for your municipality.

Step # 2

Moving forward with an Appeal:

The first step after making the decision on moving forward with an appeal of your home's assessment value is to determine an accurate opinion of value as of October 1 of the preceding tax year. In other words, if you are a New Jersey homeowner and have received your " Notice of Property Tax Assessment For 2011" in the mail recently, then your home's value is as of October 1, 2012. The assessment value should be the same as MARKET VALUE. In today's housing market, home values have fallen, however in many cases assessments have remained the same. Properties that have sold subsequently may be used only to support value, not as direct evidence.

If I recently bought my property, is the purchase price considered?

Yes, but it does not mandate a change in assessment. An assessment is an opinion of value.

Uniformity of treatment dictates that minor adjustments not be made simply due to a recent sales price. For various reasons the subject's sales price may not be either conclusive evidence of the property's value or binding upon the Tax Board. An examination of the circumstances surrounding a sale is always important.

What is good evidence to convince the Tax Assessor / County Tax Board to reconsider an assessment?

The most credible evidence is an Appraisal of your property and the use of comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in your neighborhood. Remember, if you are going to discuss comparable sales. A minimum of 3 to 5 sales are used in an Appraisal and the Appraisal Report should be attached to all copies of your appeal at the time of filing. Any evidence to be discussed at the hearing must be submitted to the assessor and the County Board of Taxation (3 copies) at least fourteen (14) days prior to your hearing.

Who is an expert witness?

Your municipal assessor and a New Jersey Certified Appraiser is considered an expert as to valuation of real estate, to the limits of the licensing or certification status from the State of New Jersey. Other appraisers may qualify as experts before the Board of Taxation, subject to the Board's discretion as to the appraiser's education, experience, professional association affiliation and other factors.

If you intend to rely on expert testimony at your hearing, you must supply one copy of an appraisal report to the assessor, and three copies of the appraisal report to the County Board of Taxation, at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled hearing.

The appraiser who completes the report must be available at the hearing to give testimony and to afford the municipality an opportunity to cross-examine the appraiser.

Step # 3

Is a hearing always necessary?

Yes, a hearing is always necessary. If the assessor, municipal attorney, and taxpayer agree to a settlement or the issues are otherwise resolved, it may not be necessary for you to attend your hearing, particularly if a signed settlement stipulation is submitted to the Tax Board for their approval, prior to the hearing.

When are tax appeal hearings held?

Tax appeal hearings are generally held after the April 1st ( Filing deadline) and December 1st (for added and omitted assessments only) annual appeal filing deadlines.

Hearings are scheduled during the work week starting at 9:00 a.m. Adjournments are generally denied. It is suggested that you make every attempt to attend your hearing. If you miss your hearing and have not received a postponement, the case will be dismissed "for lack of prosecution."

Judgments made "for lack of prosecution" are final for the current year and may not be further appealed to the Tax Court of New Jersey.

Comparable means that most of the characteristics between your property and the neighboring sales are similar. You should be knowledgeable of the conditions of the sales you cite and be able to give a full description of the properties. Some of the characteristics that would make similar property comparable are: sales price, similar square footage of living area measured from the exterior, similar lot size or acreage, proximity to your property, the same zoning and same use (e.g. duplex in a duplex zone), and the same age of the structure.

The taxpayer must be persuasive and present creditable evidence. Creditable evidence is evidence supported by fact, not assumptions or beliefs. Photographs of both the subject property(the property subject to the appeal) and comparables are useful in illustrating your argument. Factual evidence concerning special circumstances is necessary. For example, if the property cannot be further developed for some reason, evidence to that effect must be provided.

It is necessary for the taxpayer to prove at the onset that the assessment is in error. It is also necessary for the taxpayer to suggest a more appropriate value. This a accomplished by telling the Tax Board the market value of the property as of October 1, of the pre-tax year.

You cannot appeal the taxes on your property since the taxes are the result of the local budgets process. Nor will other assessments be compared to yours. You must pay the collector all taxes and municipal charges up to and including the first quarter of taxes due for the current year in order to be granted a hearing. Remember, the burden is on you, the appellant, to prove that your assessment is unreasonable, excessive, or discriminatory.

Step # 4

When will I be notified of the Tax Board's judgment?

The County Board of Taxation will usually typically render a decision of 3 to 4 weeks after a hearing. Once judgment is rendered, the Tax Board loses its jurisdiction in these matters.

May I further appeal the judgment of the Tax Board if I am still dissatisfied?

Yes. If you are dissatisfied with the judgment rendered by the County Board of Taxation, you will have 45 days from the date your judgment was mailed to file further appeal with the Tax Court of New Jersey at CN 972, Trenton, N.J. 08625. (609-292-5082)

Note:
If your property is assessed for more than $1,000,000, you have the option of filing an appeal directly with the Tax Court of New Jersey by April 1 and December 1 (For ADDED or OMITTED ASSESSMENTS only), annually.


Summary:

Before filing an appeal, it is strongly recommended the taxpayer check facts and discuss the assessment with the local municipal assessor.

A taxpayer filing an appeal should consider the following questions.

1. What was the true market value of my property on the preceding assessment date of October 1?

2. Can I support my conclusion of true market value with credible evidence?

3. Is my property assessed in excess of its true market value if a reassessment or revaluation was implemented in the current tax year?

4. In a non revaluation or non reassessment year, does the ratio of my property assessment to its true market value exceed the upper limit of the common level range?

Click here for on the New Jersey's Chapter 123 Regulation

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