The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The reason for the season: Tax Appeals

As thoughts turn to Spring, yards and gardening, some Plainfielders will find another reason in the season: property tax appeals.

Appeals on property tax assessment are due by April 1st, and those who are thinking of it need to get cracking.

Property owners need to beware though that the burden of proof is on them. That is, they will need to provide accurate comparable sales as of October 2008 in order to challenge their property tax assessment.

There is some feeling that even in these challenging times -- where fewer sales mean there are fewer comparables to draw upon -- homeowners may be drawn into the process owing to the successful appeals by commercial property owners.

When commercial property owners win reduced assessment -- and thereby lower taxes -- the burden of meeting the taxes needed to run the municipality shifts incrementally toward the residential property owners.

If you are considering a tax appeal, do yourself a favor: Inform yourself and consider professional assistance.

The NJ Law Blog has a useful article (see here), and the state has a brochure available online (see here, PDF), which those who consider an appeal should read carefully first.

Secondly, chances of a successful appeal are increased by using professional help -- read: an attorney.

To find a whole passle, just Google "tax appeals"+"new jersey".

-- Dan Damon

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