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In 2009 nearly 16,000 tax appeals were filed in the State of New Jersey. The record of 16,300 was set in 1992 so wee are almost there. In Ocean County, appeals have tripled and in Essex County, the number of appeals nearly doubled.

The deadline for filing a tax appeal for 2009 is Thursday, April 1, 2010, however, in those municipalities undergoing a revaluation and reassessment which may be concluded by the statutory deadline, the April 1 filing deadline might be extended. If the filing deadline is extended, the taxpayer will receive a written notice from the its tax assessor listing the revised filing date. All tax appeals must be received by the filing deadline. Do not mail your appeal to your local County Board of Taxation on the deadline date – you will be out-of-luck. The form must be received by the deadline date.

In order to prepare for the filing of a tax appeal by the next review date, you must be sure of the following:

1. Research – you cannot focus on the attributes of your own home and disregard how your property sits in the general scheme of the surrounding neighborhood. You must find “comparables” or “comps,” that can be used to justify a reduction in your assessment. If, one of your neighbor’s homes has sold for a value less than what your equalized assessment is, it may be used as a “comp.” However, no two properties are alike and there are many variables to take into consideration. Therefore, it is extremely important to conduct thorough research either on the Internet or through a licensed real estate broker. You should also consider hiring a licensed appraiser for a professional opinion.

2. Make Sure you have Correct Information – In every municipality the tax assessor maintains a property record card for every property within the taxing district. The property record card identifies the characteristics in each property within the taxing district. This provides an excellent starting point for anyone looking to lower their taxes. If a home similar to yours has sold for a value less than what your equalized assessment is, and that home is very close in comparison to yours, you may be able to use that as a “comp.” There are times when a property owner may justify a reduction in taxes merely by correcting a mistake on the property record card.

3. Be prepared to appear before the Board with an expert to prove your contention with regard to lowering your taxes.

In order to prepare for the hearing on your complaint, it is suggested that you have a licensed qualified, appraiser to testify on your behalf.

Once a decision comes back from the county board of taxation in the form of a judgment, you then have 45 days within which to file a complaint with the Tax Court Management Office. Again, the date the Tax Court Management Office receives the complaint is the filed date, not the date your complaint was mailed.

A regular complaint costs $200.00 to file for the first parcel and $50.0 for each additional parcel. Small Claims fees are $35.00 for the first parcel and $10.00 for additional parcels. A CIS must accompany the complaint to the tax office.

If you need help filing those tax appeals, let us know. We can help!

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