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Commercial Property Appeals in 2010

January 2010

Wolff & Samson Real Estate Property Tax Alert

The real estate market in New Jersey continues to suffer as we enter 2010. This is particularly true for commercial properties, as many are over assessed for purposes of local property taxation. It is prudent for commercial, industrial and multi-residential property owners to consider appealing their local property assessment as one of the key mechanisms for weathering this decline.

On or before February 1, 2010, the assessor for each taxing district issues a “Notice of Assessment,” which lists, among other information, the property assessment for 2010. It is important to understand that, unless there has been a district-wide revaluation, the “assessed” value placed on property is not the “market value” claimed by the municipality. Rather, the municipality must defend the “imputed” or “equalized” value of the property, which takes into account the average assessment in the district as a percentage of the average useable sale in the district. This equalized value is often much higher than the assessment and is the value the municipality must defend.

An appeal from the 2010 assessment must be filed on or before April 1, 2010. All appeals may be made initially to the County Board of Taxation, but if the assessment (not the market value) exceeds $750,000, then the appeal may be made directly to the New Jersey Tax Court. (There is a proposal to increase the minimum for direct filing to $1,000,000, which may or may not be effective by April 1, 2010). Direct appeals to the Tax Court must also be made by April 1, 2010.

If a property owner has engaged in a major capital investment or expansion of its property, or plans to do so in 2010, the property owner should also seek advice concerning a potential tax appeal because the assessor will impose an “added assessment” toward the end of the year, which has a separate filing deadline.

If you are interested in exploring your individual property tax appeal, Wolff & Samson PC is experienced in the prosecution of commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties, as well as special use properties and hotels. We will be pleased to undertake an initial analysis to determine the potential merits of a tax appeal on your particular property. If you decide to appeal, Wolff & Samson, in certain cases, will do so on a contingent fee basis.

For more information concerning property tax appeals, please contact:
John F. Casey ¦ Member of the Firm ¦ Phone (973) 530-2017 ¦ Email jcasey@wolffsamson.com
Jill D. Rosenberg ¦ Member of the Firm ¦ (973) 530-2102 ¦ Email jrosenberg@wolffsamson.com