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The 2015 Tax Assessment Appeal Process.

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 New Jersey Residents click here 

Property values have increased during the " Real Estate Bubble" years across the country.  Many municipalities have conducted reassessment valuations on Residential Properties at the height of the boom. Therefore, many property assessments are currently calculated on higher than current market values.  In recent years many areas have seen a decline in home values, however, your property tax assessments have NOT DECLINED with market values.

The burdin of proof is on the individual homeowner to prove to the local Tax Assessor the property in question is over assessed ( over valued ) causing the actual property tax has been inflated based on MARKET VALUES as of the assessment date.  Most homeowners understand the local municipality does not automatically lower your property assessment because of declining home values.

The Staff appraisers at Metro Residential Appraisals have successfully assisted homeowners to prove to the local Board of Taxation and County Assessors how their homes were OVER ASSESSED compared to the CURRENT FAIR MARKET VALUE as of the assessment date set forth by each municipality.  In some cases as much as 23% over assessed.  This equates to a signifficant savings to the homeowner in the annual property tax libality. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to do their own diligence. Most homeowners do not know where to start in this process, this is why many have come to rely on Metro Residentials.  It is critical when choosing COMPARABLE SALES to your home, they are TRUE COMPARABLES

The responsible homeowner will want to do a thorough check of their property tax bill to ensure they have not been over charged or remain passive when a property tax adjustment is due them. In most cases, the home owner with a discrepancy will find the property tax bill to be in excess, however, it is just as important to be sure there are no under billing errors that you will be responsible to cover at a later time. To ensure that you are treated fairly and are paying the minimal amount required by your state or municipality, you will want to read your property tax statement and verify the charges.

At Metro Residential Appraisals, Inc., we understand the Tax Assessment appeal process in helping homeowners in challenging current property tax assessments and are ready to assist you.  Call or email us now!


Should you file a property tax appeal ? Should you have your property reappraised ? The assessed value of your real estate should equal what the property would easily sell for (appraised value). If the assessed value exceeds what the property would easily sell for you should file an appeal. If the property is affected by a diminution in value caused by declining prices and market conditions, detrimental conditions i.e. cracked slab, landslide, construction defects, condemnation, environmental problems, or other causes you should file an appeal. Property tax appeals can be filed on any real estate including a home, ranch, vacant land, apartment building, commercial, industrial, or special use property.

Before you file for a real property tax assessment appeal you should get an appraisal prepared by an appraiser experienced in appraisal methodologies for assessment appeals  Why, you will be up against experienced appraisers that work for the assessors office. If you show up with just a print out of comparable sales without utilizing the appropriate methodologies to arrive at your value conclusion your chances of a successful appeal would be greatly reduced.   

 Did you know ?                                            

1. The appeals board operates under the presumption that the County Assessor is correct in their assessment of your property. In addition, many times the board of appeals is made up of at least one former or active real estate appraiser.

2. The Homeowner must provide substantial evidence (typically an appraisal) utilizing the appropriate methodologies to support your real property assessment appeal claim. As an appraisal expert we are qualified to act as your designated expert witness or represent you at the hearing and provide you with a well researched and documented appraisal of your property.  In addition, our appraisers are the most qualified to question the appraisal methodology used by the Assessor in determining the assessed value of your property.

3. Experienced staff appraisers at Metro Residential Appraisals can determine if the appraisal by the county assessor is in compliance with current appraisal methodology and assessment practices as defined by the Assessment Appeals Manual. The key to challenging your real property assessment is to provide well documented "evidence" and have the representation you need to be able to refute inaccurate technical valuation claims that may be made by the assessor. A reappraisal by an experienced expert appraiser and Member of the Appraisal Institute can provide the documented "evidence" you need in challenging your property tax assessment. The ability to cross exam the County Appraiser by a real estate appraisal expert can often times make the difference of whether your tax assessment appeal is successful or not. 

4. At the commencement of every hearing you should request a finding of fact in writing and submit it to the clerk. This requires the assessment appeals board to discuss all of the material points raised by the application and typically requires a statement by the board of which appraisal methods were used to determine the appraised value of your property. Rule 325 of the Assessment Appeals Manual generally states findings of fact must be rendered within 45 days.

5. You can request a copy of the tape recorded hearing within 60 days following the final determination if you plan to appeal the boards decision on a judicial review.  

6. Again, the first step in any property tax assessment appeal is to have a reappraisal of your real estate by an expert to provide documented evidence of your property value.

 Common Level Ranges (New Jersey Chapter 123)

The following questions and answers were developed by the state of New Jersey to assist homeowners in properly preparing for a tax appeal hearing.  The appeal process is complex.  This information was derived from the New Jersey laws which govern tax appeals: Administrative Code Title 18:12 and New Jersey Statutes Title 54:3 et seq and 54:3 et seq. as an aid to the property owner, but it should not be considered as an all-inclusive guide.  Most importantly, it is essential that taxpayers understand and must prove an assessment is unreasonable, compared to a market standard.  Also, note that any information herein should not be considered legal advice.  Please consider consulting an attorney.

In New Jersey, current assessments are by law assumed to be correct.  The homeowner must overcome this presumption of correctness to gain an assessment reduction.  

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 valuation date published by the local municipality, in a year following a revaluation or reassessment.  The  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.

To understand the common level range you must consider what happens following a revaluation.  Once a revaluation is completed, factors such as inflation, appreciation, and depreciation cause property values to increase or decrease at varying rates.  Other factors may also contribute to changes in property values. Obviously, if assessments are not adjusted annually, a deviation from 100% of true market value may occur.

This sales data is compared individually to corresponding assessments to determine an average level of assessment in a municipality.  An average ratio, sometimes referred to as the Director's ratio, is developed to represent the assessment level in every community.

In any year, except the year in which a revaluation or reassessment is implemented, the common level of assessment is the average ratio of the district in which your property is situated, and is used by the Tax Board to determine the fairness of your assessment.