Firm News & Blog




In the past weeks, Tax Assessors all over the State mailed Notices of the 2013 Property Tax Assessment to property owners.  This inconspicuous post-card size mailing is all the notice you will receive as to what the assessed value of your property will be in 2013.  The Notice of Assessment will not tell you what your Tax Bill for 2013 will be because the tax rate will not be established by the municipalities until June at the earliest and in many cases the Fall of 2013.  Your decision as to whether or not you should appeal your assessment this year must be made based on the assessed value and long before you know what the Tax Bill will be.  If you wait for the Tax Bill to arrive, it will be too late to file a 2013 appeal.

The determination as to whether or not your assessed value is fair depends on several factors, none of which are disclosed on the Notice of Assessment you will receive from your town; e.g. in the case of income-producing properties, your rent roll, recent vacancies, Hurricane Sandy impacts and recent operating expense experience among other things all have a major impact on the analysis.  Of equal importance is the equalization ratio applicable to each municipality for each given tax year. The utilization of the equalization ratio with the estimated value of the property provides the necessary guidance as to whether or not a tax appeal is justified.

Of special note is the handful of significant revaluations or reassessments being implemented for tax year 2013.  In this regard, if you have property in the Newark, East Orange, Carlstadt, Harrington Park, Hillsdale, Wood-Ridge, Bogota, Montvale, New Milford, Oradell, Ridgewood, Saddle Brook, Teterboro, Glen Ridge or Maplewood you may be impacted by a revaluation or reassessment this year and you should be especially vigilant.  In addition, the City of Jersey City will implement its first revaluation in over 20 years in 2014.  The best chance to influence the new assessment on Jersey City property may be to appeal in 2013.  While in theory, revaluations and reassessments are “tax neutral” (i.e., your assessed value will increase but the general tax rate will decrease), in fact this is true only in the most general sense.  Most revaluations and reassessments result in a substantial shift of the tax base from neighborhood to neighborhood or from property class to property class.  For every taxpayer whose tax burden decreases as a result of a revaluation or reassessment, there is another whose burden is increased.

The general deadline for filing tax appeals state-wide is April 1, 2013. However, in towns where revaluations or reassessments have been implemented, the deadline is May 1, 2013.  At Waters McPherson McNeill the representation of our clients in tax appeal litigation has been a mainstay of the practice for over 40 years. The scope of our practice is state-wide.  We’d be happy to discuss your 2013 assessment with you and assist you in determining whether filing a tax appeal this year makes sense. Contact Joe Ragno at (201) 330-7465 or for further details or to make an appointment.

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