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Appealing a Real Estate Tax Assessment in New Jersey

New Jersey uses the “ad valorem” (Latin for “according to value”) assessment method to evaluate a property's true monetary value. This “true value” is, by definition, what someone would pay for such property if it were for sale. Professional tax assessors are responsible for determining the monetary value of a home and the land on which it is located by utilizing current market trends, completed construction conditions and other home improvement additions.

The amount of money required by New Jersey counties to adequately fund education, public and human services influences the value of property taxes. County tax managers in all 21 New Jersey counties divide the total assessed value of individually owned real estate within the jurisdiction of that specific county by the county's budget amount. A homeowner's tax fees are then calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the property value as determined by a qualified property assessor.

New Jersey taxpayers have the right to appeal a property assessment with which they disagree by filing appropriate documents 45 days from the date the assessment occurred or before April 1. However, what many Garden State residents do not know is that the right to appeal real estate tax assessments are not limited to homeowners. This right to appeal also includes individuals deemed “aggrieved taxpayers”, such as mortgagees, tax sale certificate holders and tenants who may be adversely affected by a property assessment they consider improper.

According to state law N.J.S.A 54:3-21, anyone who believes they could be considered an “aggrieved taxpayer” has the right to file an appeal. For example, tenants of an apartment building that has been recently accessed at a higher property value than previously determined may want to file an appeal due to the very real possibility that the landlord will subsequently raise the rent in order to pay for the increase in property tax.

Successfully appealing a property tax assessment means gathering sufficient evidence to prove that the assessor made an error in the value of your property. Using “comparable sales” evidence is a good way to show an appeals board what the estimated values are of other homes in your jurisdiction. These “comps” are lists of properties recently sold in your area that may contain compelling proof of the overestimation of your property's value

Real estate agencies may be able to help in obtaining pertinent information regarding comparable sales evidence needed in appealing a property assessment. In addition, a competent real estate agency like Orly Chen who is intimately familiar with New Jersey and Bergen County property taxes can assist people who are interested in purchasing real estate. Knowing all property details—including tax assessment figures--prior to buying a home is just one of the advantages a potential home buyer has when using Orly Chen as their real estate provider.

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