FOCUS ON THE PLAN, NOT THE PROBLEM.
Q: What is a property tax appeal?
A: A tax appeal is a process in which a property owner is permitted to question the accuracy of his/her property assessment. *Remember you are appealing your assessment NOT your taxes.* However lowering your property assessment will in turn lower your taxes.
Q: Do I simply look at my property assessment card to determine if my property is overvalued?
A: Unfortunately no. In some municipalities, the land and building value shown on the tax card is only a percentage of fair market value and or what the assessor believes your home is worth, which is called the "equalized value". This fact can often fool the taxpayer in believing that the assessment is not excessive when indeed it is. For example, your property assessment is $375,000 in a town with an equalization rate of 60%. In this case the equalized value is $625,000. In addition, the fairness of the assessment can only be determined by comparing it to recent property sales.
Q: When is the filing deadline?
A: Beginning in 2014 Monmouth county started a pilot program for Tax Appeals, therefore they have a different deadline from all the other counties.
MONMOUTH/GLOUCESTER/BURLINGTON COUNTY DEADLINE - JANUARY 15TH
ALL OTHER NEW JERSEY COUNTIES - APRIL 1ST
REVALUATIONS: 45 DAYS AFTER BULK NOTICE
Q: How does the process work?
A: Once the appeal is filed a hearing is scheduled before the County Tax Board. Comparable sales must be submitted to the Tax Board and the local assessor at least seven days before the hearing. Only usable sales occurring during the sampling period, as defined by law, are permitted to be utilized and considered by the Tax Board. If a settlement is not offered prior to the hearing date the appeal will be heard in front of the commissioner.
Q: Do I have to pay my taxes in order to appeal them?
A: In general the answer is YES. Failure to keep your taxes current may result in the dismissal of your case. You will also need to keep current on all Municipal charges as well (Water/Sewer) not being current on these may result in a motion to dismiss your case!
Q: Will I need an appraisal?
A: Not necessarily. In some cases it may be advisable to obtain and appraisal. After careful review of your property assessment, comparable sales which are usable, I can help determine if an appraisal is needed. Most of the time I have been able to successfully resolve cases without a formal appraisal.
*The county does charge a fee to file your appeal:
Assessed Valuation less than $ 150,000 ………………. $5.00
$150,000 or more, but less than $500,000………………$25.00
$500,000 or more, but less than $1,000,000.……………$100.00
$1,000,000 or more……………………………………...$150.00
*If filing in Monmouth / Union / Hudson / Camden Counties add
$5.00 for Online Processing.
Q: Do I need an attorney to file an appeal?
A: Not necessarily although it does help immensely. An attorney who is intimately familiar with the process can greatly enhance your chances of success. They can help identify if the assessment appears excessive, can help select sales which are usable according to law, and help sales which are comparable and which occurred during the proper sampling period. A knowledgeable attorney knows the tax court rules and is familiar with the procedures. The attorney can also be instrumental in negotiating a fair settlement and if need be, appear at your hearing and prosecute your case.
Q: If my property is listed under an LLC do I need to hire an attorney?
A: Yes. All properties even if residential listed as an LLC as the property owner must be represented by an attorney. And any property assessment over $1 Million may be filed directly to the State Tax Court of New Jersey.
Should you have any further questions please don't hesitate to call my office.
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