How do I appeal my NJ Property tax assessment?
Seven facts every NJ property owner should know about property taxes in this state—how they are determined and your rights to appeal.
1) You appeal the assessment, not the tax.
In NJ, you don’t appeal your property tax amount. Instead, you appeal the assessed value of your property from which your property taxes are derived.
2) The ratio between market value & assessed value is the critical issue.
Although declining home values have led to a situation in which many homes are assessed at more than their true market value, you may successfully appeal the assessment even if that is not the case.
In 1973, the NJ Legislature adopted a formula known as Chapter 123 to test the fairness of a property assessment. If the ratio of assessed value to true value exceeds the average ratio (also known as the director’s ratio) by 15% or more, the assessment is reduced to the common level, i.e. the director’s ratio.Every municipality has a director’s ratio.
This ratio varies from community to community and changes each October 1 for the following year. For example currently in Trenton, the director’s ratio is 61.38%. So any house in Trenton that is assessed at more than 70.59% of its market value qualifies for a reduction.
3) In the case of a community-wide reassessment, the assessed value must be 100% of true market value.
4) The burden of proof lies with the tax payer.
Under NJ law, the assessment is assumed to be correct. It is up to the
tax payer to prove otherwise. In order to do this, you must:
• Know the ratio in your community
• Provide credible evidence that the assessment exceeds the highest level ratio of true market value as of the preceding October 1. Credible evidence is:
o The sale prices of comparable properties in your area
o Expert testimony by a licensed appraiser
• Submit your evidence to the tax board and the assessor at least 7 days prior to the hearing (if required).
5) must file your appeal by the appropriate deadline.
The deadline is:
• April 1 of the tax year• 45 days from the bulk mailing of assessment notices, or
• May 1st of the tax year if there has been a community-wide reassessment
6) The tax board renders its formal decision at an appeal hearing.
Tax appeal hearings are typically held within three months of the filing deadline. If you have reached an agreement with the assessor prior to the hearing, you may not be required to attend. If you have not reached an agreement in advance, you must attend; otherwise your appeal will be rejected for “lack of prosecution.” If you use expert testimony, your expert must also appear at the hearing.
7) If the tax board rejects your appeal you have the right to file a further appeal with the Tax Court of New Jersey.
If you choose to file a further appeal with the Tax court, you must do so within 45 days from the date the tax board judgment was mailed to you.