Taxpayers are upset and confused. Their property taxes are rising, while their values are falling. They are, on the one hand told by banks that their property doesn’t have enough value for a loan, yet on the other, told by their town that their property has value for taxing purposes. It can feel like a lose–lose situation.
Often, by the time taxpayers contact my office they are at a minimum frustrated with their growing tax bill or worse, desperate and close to losing their house because of an inability to pay their taxes. We love empowering people to correct a great wrong… to reduce their biggest household or business expense by equalizing values. For some, a successful appeal is a matter of providing excess spending power or expanding profit margins. But for others, and unfortunately in growing numbers, this process is about being able to keep one’s home, or justify their real estate portfolio in the face of growing and strangling tax burdens.
The process can be complicated for the unrepresented property owner. Even armed with data from an online service provider, or assisted by an appraiser, the petitioner is still lacking knowledge of the applicable legal procedures that are essential for effectively overcoming the presumption that their assessment is accurate and resolving the case accordingly. Inadequate representation can lead to at a minimum a waste of time and money, but far worse, property taxes may actually be increased if a case is handled poorly.
It is for this reason that it is so important for property owners to have adequate legal representation. Indeed, in New Jersey, property held by a corporate name must be represented by an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the state. Contact our office for a free no obligation consultation.
Some Helpful Facts:
- Taxpayers must remain current and pay property taxes throughout and up to resolution of the appeal process.
- The deadline for filing an appeal is April 1 of the current/appealed year or May 1 if the municipality has implemented a town-wide revaluation/reassessment.
- Essentially, the petitioner is not appealing their property taxes, but the property assessment value, which is the basis for establishing property values and taxes. This is accomplished by establishing that the assessed value is unreasonable as compared to the market value by the preceding October 1. Depending on the nature of the property, this will be accomplished with comparable sales or market income.
- Property assessments are based on a property’s overall value, which changes every year, with market fluctuations. Assessments are not usually in synch with true values. Where a property is over-assessed, an appeal of the assessment may be in order. Thus taxpayers should not incorrectly assume that the assessment amount listed on their Notice of Assessment Card (postcard mailed to taxpayers in the beginning of every tax year) is correct or even reflects an undervaluation of the property and should therefore not attempt an appeal. It may be just the opposite.
- The process does not usually require direct contact between the taxing district and property owner; with the right representation, a Tax Appeal can be hassle-free, straightforward, with minimal demands on the petitioner and maximum savings!
- Tova L. Lutz, Esq. is available to help you determine if you can turn your lose-lose property tax situation into a win-win savings situation. (link to contact)