Important 2020 deadlines are quickly approaching for all taxpayers who lease or own real property in New Jersey seeking to reduce their tax burden and protect their tax appeal rights. Failure to meet these important filing deadlines may completely bar your right to file a property tax appeal this year.
Notice of Assessment – February 1, 2020
The first step in the appeal process is to carefully review your Notice of Assessment. Taxpayers typically receive the Notice of Assessment by the first week of February. The Notice of Assessment will contain important information regarding your assessment. It lists the 2020 assessment for your property, the prior year’s assessment, and the prior year’s taxes. However, it does not include the taxes due for 2020 based on the new tax assessment. Importantly, you will not know the taxes you owe for 2020 until the third quarter of 2020, after the deadline to appeal. The decision to appeal is based solely on the assessment and its relationship to market value, not on the amount of taxes due.
Appeal Deadline – April 1, 2020
After receiving your Notice of Assessment, there is a very small window of time to consider whether to file an appeal. Unless the municipality has undergone a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment, the strict deadline for taxpayers to file an appeal directly to the New Jersey Tax Court is the later of April 1, 2020, or 45 days from the date the bulk mailing of the Notice of Assessments is completed. This is also the deadline to file an appeal to the County Board of Taxation in every county except Monmouth County. Filing deadlines are strictly enforced. Failure to meet the filing deadline may completely bar your right to appeal your assessment for 2020 regardless of the unfairness of your assessment and tax burden.
Revaluation Deadline – May 1, 2020
The deadline to file an appeal in the New Jersey Tax Court and the County Board of Taxation for municipalities that have undergone a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment is the later of May 1, 2020, or 45 days from the date the bulk mailing of the Notice of Assessments is completed. Notable municipal-wide reassessments this year were performed in Hackensack and Paterson.
Where to file
If the assessment is over $1,000,000, the taxpayer may file an appeal in either the Tax Court of New Jersey or the County Board of Taxation of the county where the property is located. If the assessment is $1,000,000 or less, the taxpayer must file with the County Board of Taxation.
Deciding whether to appeal
Deciding whether to file a property tax appeal requires careful analysis and consideration of your tax assessment, as adjusted by the applicable county equalization ratio, and its fairness in relationship to the true market value of the property. Importantly, in New Jersey, a municipality has the right to file a counterclaim to seek to increase your assessment if it determines you are under assessed. Therefore, failure to properly evaluate your case prior to filing may prove costly. It is vital to use experienced legal counsel to review your assessment to determine the risks and benefits prior to filing an appeal in order to understand the tax relief available and to avoid an unwanted tax increase. As market and property conditions fluctuate every year, it is vital to reexamine your property on an annual basis for eligibility for a tax appeal.
To determine whether your property may be eligible for an appeal, the experienced team at Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP is ready to provide a complimentary evaluation of your property. If we determine that an appeal will be beneficial, we will recommend a strategy to reduce your tax burden and can file and pursue your appeal. As a dedicated commercial real estate firm, our team has invaluable insight into the real estate market and has successfully litigated the value of virtually all property types. Our team also has considerable experience advising on tax exemptions, or other tax incentive programs, that may be available to reduce the property tax burden outside of the appeal process. Our experience and deep broad-based knowledge allow us to consider all options that may be available to potentially reduce your tax burden.
For additional information concerning our property tax appeal services, or to request an evaluation of your property, please contact: THOMAS S. DOLAN
Partner - Property Tax Practice Leader
THOMAS S. DOLAN
Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in commercial real estate and development matters. Headquartered in Newark, NJ, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.