FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR 2010 TAX APPEALS

N.J.S.A. 54:3-21 is the jurisdictional statute for tax appeals. It was recently amended by L. 2009, c.251, effective January 16, 2010. This amendment is noteworthy as it raises the floor for filing direct real property assessment challenges in the Tax Court. Previously, a complaint could not be filed in the Tax Court and the County Board of Taxation by passed if the assessed value exceeded $750,000.   As of January 16, 2010, the assessed value for a property must exceed $1 million to trigger the court’s original jurisdiction.    R. 8:3-5 of New Jersey’s Rules of Court were changed as of February 9th to conform.

Taxpayers are not remediless if the property’s assessment is $1 million or less. In that case, a petition, not a complaint, can be filed with the County Board of Taxation of the county in which the property is located. The procedural requirements for County Boards differ from board to board as well as with the procedural requirements of the Tax Court. However, in either forum, a taxpayer must comply with several challenges including: (1) the burden of proof on value, (2) Chapter 91, and (3) Chapter 123. Failure to comply with any of these will result in dismissal of the taxpayer’s petition or complaint, as the case may be.

 

The specifics of N.J.S.A. 54:3-21 (the “Statute”) remain the same:

 

  • A petition or a complaint must be filed on or before April 1st of the year of assessment or, on or before May 1st, if the taxing district undertook a municipal-wide revaluation or a municipal-wide reassessment.
  • The taxing district (the assessor) is required to bulk mail to each property owner a notification of the assessment and file a certification with the County Board of Taxation advising of the date the bulk mailing was completed.
  • Appeals are governed by the State Uniform Tax Procedure Law. An appeal to the Tax Court establishes jurisdiction over the entire matter with the court.
  • A cross-petition of appeal or a counterclaim can be filed within 20 days from the date of service of a petition or a complaint by the other party.

 

 

 

 

It is well established that this Statute is jurisdictional and therefore filing deadlines cannot be waived. An untimely filing will result in a dismissal of an appeal no matter how meritorious. Finally, the appeal process established by this Statute does not apply to appeals of an assessment or an exemption based on a financial agreement controlled by the Long Term Tax Exemption Law.

 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to consult Jeffrey M. Hall at (609) 895-6755 or jhall@foxrothschild.com.

New Jersey Legislature Increases Minimum Threshold for Filing a Property Tax Appeal Directly With the New Jersey Tax Court

     As noted on the official website for the New Jersey Tax Court, due to recently enacted legislation, any local property tax appeals that are not added or omitted assessments may be filed directly with the Tax Court only if the original assessment exceeds $1,000,000. 

     The Assembly Committee that reviewed the legislation and recommended its adoption noted that "[i]ncreasing the assessed value requirement will decrease the overburdened Tax Court's caseload and allow these cases to be heard by county boards of taxation, which are better equipped to handle a large volume of tax appeals."  For what it is worth, the prior $750,000 threshold had not been increased since it was first established in 1979. 

     The legislation increases the threshold for making a direct filing from $750,000 to $1,000,000.  Therefore, any taxpayer whose assessment is below the minimum threshold may still challenge its tax assessment by filing a Petition of Appeal with the County Board of Taxation in the county where the property is located.  However, those taxpayers whose assessments exceed $1,000,000 may either file a Petition at the County Board level or file a direct appeal with the Tax Court.  There are advantages and disadvantages with both approaches.

 

     Notices of the tax assessments are typically mailed on or around February 1st.