These are some of the most frequently asked questions that we get at The Law Offices of Marina Dimentman. Please call us to discuss more in-depth questions. Our staff and lawyers will provide the answers you are looking for. We look forward to speaking with you. We can be reached at 201-946-1770 or through our online contact form. Our firm offers free case evaluations to property owners throughout New Jersey and New York.
1. What is a property tax appeal and what is the benefit?
A tax appeal is a challenge to the assessed valuation assigned to your property. The benefit to a tax appeal is that it can result in a reduction of property taxes.
2. What is a property tax assessment?
A property tax assessment is the value placed on a property by each individual town’s assessor. The assessment may reflect exactly the market value of the property, or maybe only a small percentage of the actual current market value of the property, depending on the state issued ratio between market and assessment value.
For example, some towns may only be assessing at 20 percent of market value, meaning that a $100,000 assessment actually implies a $500,000 market value of the property.
3. What can I appeal to the county tax board?
The only appeal in New Jersey is for the assessment of the property. Thus, you can appeal because you believe that the value indicated by your assessment is higher than your property’s true market value. Your appeal must focus on proving that the value assessed on your property is too high which, in turn, results in you paying more than your fair share of taxes. Sadly, your appeal cannot be based on an inability to pay or on the claim that your neighbor’s assessment is too low.
4. Should I appeal my NJ Real Estate property tax assessment?
In order to determine whether or not you should appeal your current NJ Real Estate property tax assessment, we must first calculate and evaluate the difference between what your assessor says your property is worth and what the market says it will bear.
5. What if my neighbor’s assessment is much lower than mine?
Your next door neighbor’s assessment being lower than yours is not allowed as evidence, that does not prove that “your” assessment is too high, because your neighbor’s assessment may be too low. An appeal is recommended when the equalized market value of “your” property is more than its true market value. The equalized market value is determined by dividing the assessed value by the Chapter 123 ratio.
6. What is the legal fee charged by this law firm for a tax appeal?
If we determine that your property qualifies for a tax appeal and our law firm is retained to represent you, we can usually accept your case on a contingent fee basis. There would be no legal fee whatsoever unless we obtain a tax savings for you. No savings, no legal fee. If you prefer, your case can be handled on an hourly rate, but most clients prefer the contingent fee basis, so that there is no legal fee unless we obtain a tax savings for you.
6a. What are the filing fees associated with filing an appeal?
For appeals filed to the County Tax Board, the filing fee is based upon the assessment of the property on appeal. These filing fees are the responsibility of the property owner and can be paid with our online portal right here. The following is a summary of the filing fees for County Board appeals:
|Assessment Amount||Filing Fee|
|Assessed Value under $150,000||$5|
|$150,000 or more, but less than $ 500,000||$25|
|$500,000 or more, but less than $ 1,000,000||$100|
|$1,000,000 or more||$150|
*Hudson, Union and Monmouth County are an additional $5.00 due to electronic filing*
7. What is the deadline for filing my appeal?
In Counties and Municipalities not involved in trial assessment programs setting the date as January 15th, the general appeal filing deadline is the later of April 1 or 45 days from when the yearly notice of assessment are mailed. In such towns undergoing a district wide Revaluation or Reassessment the deadline is the later or May 1st or 45 days from the mailing of the assessment notice.
Also, if you do any major renovation or the nature of a property changes (i.e. from exempt to taxable), during any given year, you may receive an added or omitted assessment. Those assessments are generally sent in early November. An appeal of an added or omitted assessment must be filed before December 1 of the year in which you received the added or omitted assessment.
The Appeal Deadline is now July 1st, 2020 as per P.L. 2020, c 35. which was signed into law by Governor Murphy on May 28th, 2020.
8. How long is the property tax appeal process?
Cases filed before the County Board of Taxation are typically heard a few months after the initial filling. Judgments are received shortly after the County Board of Taxation hearing dates in most cases. However, resolution of cases at the Tax Court of New Jersey may take longer – sometimes over a year – depending on a number of factors including the complexity of the case and the current caseload of the court.
9. Do I continue to pay my property taxes after filing an appeal?
To proceed with an appeal, all taxes and municipal charges ( i.e. water and sewer ) up to and including the first quarter of the tax year must be paid.
10. How long will my new assessment be in place?
Typically if we successfully reduce your assessment the Freeze Act will apply. The Freeze Act, provides that if no further appeal is made from a County Tax Board’s judgment, the assessed value set at appeal is “frozen” for the assessment year and next 2 years. EXCEPTIONS to the Freeze apply if changes to the property after the assessing date for the year appealed cause an increase in property value, if there is a subsequent district wide revaluation or reassessment or a subsequent appeal.
11. Do I have to appear in court when my case is heard?
Although you are welcome to come to court when your case is heard, we will call you in advance if we require your presence for any reason.
12. Do Condo owners have a right to an appeal?
If you are the owner of a condominium property, you have the right to appeal its assessment. Often, if one unit in a development is over-assessed, then other units have probably been over-assessed, as well. It is common for owners to hire this firm as a group. This allows us to handle the appeal at a lower cost for each owner, and the cost of an appraisal can be shared. That way, if we are successful, the owner saves more. However, appealing as a group is not required and you can solely appeal your property as well.
13. Should I file an appeal on a property recently purchased for less than the my current assessed value?
If you recently purchased a property for less than the equalized market value, based upon your property tax assessment, you MAY be able to win a "recently purchased property tax appeal" using your own purchase price as evidence. However, there is no absolute right to have an assessment reduced simply because a transaction occurred at a price lower than the value. "One sale does not dictate the market value". In essence, it is still necessary to prove the case, and prove the value of the property.
14. Do I need an appraisal?
The Law Firm makes every best effort to keep the cost of litigation as low as possible, and in past years has been able to successfully reduce the majority of its client’s taxes without having to hire an appraiser. However, if in the course of litigating the Tax Appeal, it becomes apparent that the services of an appraiser are necessary, Client’s permission will first be obtained and Client will be responsible for any appraisal/appraiser cost.
15. How do I receive my tax savings?
If we successfully reduce your property tax assessment through litigation or by way of a settlement with the municipality, your assessment will be lowered retroactively to January 1 of the appeal year. As a result, your Municipality will either issue a credit for the savings in your 4th quarter tax bill or issue a refund check for the amount of the refund you are owed.
16. When do I pay the law firm’s fee?
You only pay our Firm’s legal fee after you have received the benefit from the new assessment, either in the form of a refund check from the town or a credit in your quarterly tax bill. Afterwards, you will receive an invoice for our services.
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