Whenever a tax assessor over-assesses the taxable value of a home, the property tax bill will be unfairly high. Here we will describe the ways in which a New Jersey homeowner can endeavor to reduce such a taxable value.
In challenging an assessment value, you must prove at least one of the following:
- The data used is either inaccurate or incomplete. For instance, the assessor may have documented that your house has3,250 square feet of living space when in fact it only has 2,500.
- The taxable value of your home was misrepresented and is higher than the taxable values of comparable homes in your neighborhood.
- The current market value of your home was over-assessed.
If you believe any of these criteria apply, consider the following methods for reducing the taxable value.
Consult with the Tax Assessor
If you possess persuasive evidence that the tax assessor has over-assessed your property, she or he might consent to alter the value. In that case, a formal appeal will not be necessary.
You can find contact information for your tax assessor by telephoning your local government office. Most municipalities post contact details on their website.
Most assessors behave in good faith and are prepared to consider evidence so long as it is presented in a calm, rational matter. Avoid emotional outbursts and stick to the facts.
Bear in mind, that it is highly unusual for a tax assessor to change the taxable value on the spot and is likely they will require time to investigate your claim.
Appeal the Assessment
If the tax assessor doesn’t reach an agreement with you, you can always appeal the assessment. Here are the procedures you need to follow should you decide to pursue a formal NJ Tax Appeal.
Where to Appeal
You can appeal the assessment of your property by presenting a petition to your county’s tax board. This must be presented by April 1 or within 45 days after the tax assessor mails you an assessment notice – whichever comes later. If the assessor has actually re-assessed your whole community, you have until May 1 to file. Call the office of the tax assessor’s to confirm what documentation you are required to send and the deadline by which you must submit your appeal.
Your evidence will be considered at a formal hearing. If you have evidence relating to comparable properties, you should submit copies a minimum of 7 days before the hearing. Similarly, if you plan to present an appraiser’s opinion, you should submit copies of the appraisal at least seven days prior to the hearing – and the appraiser must attend the hearing.
Helpful Evidence for Your Appeal
Several types of evidence may aid you in pursuing your appeal. These include:
- a current appraisal of your home
- Itemization and estimates for repair work required on your property.
- Records of recent, comparable sale in your area and print-outs of real estate listings for homes comparable to yours, along with their list prices or taxable values.
During the hearing, you’ll be given only a short period of time in order to present your case, so be concise. Bring multiples copies of all your documentary evidence so that each officer at the hearing has their own copy. If you can, include a chart showing comparative sales prices and taxable values. It’s a good idea to arrive at the hearing early so that you can observe – and learn from – other people’s hearings.
Ask a Court to Review the Tax Board’s Decision
Following your appeal hearing, if you don’t agree with the decision handed down, you can approach the New Jersey Tax Court to make a review of the decision. You have 45 days from when the Tax Board mailed its decision to file at the court. If you do plan to go to court,you’re probably going to need to hire a lawyer to advise and represent you.