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New Jersey Structures Suffering "Material Depreciation" Caused by Hurricane Sandy May Be Eligible for Adjusted Assessment in 2013

November 5, 2012

As residents across New Jersey continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, Wolff & Samson wishes first and foremost to extend our hope that this message finds you safe and secure. Unfortunately, many people have suffered property damage as a result of this powerful storm. We therefore wanted to make you aware of a New Jersey statute that addresses, for tax purposes, the material depreciation of a structure due to a major casualty that occurs between October 1 and January 1.

By way of background, all real property in New Jersey is assessed according to its value on October 1 of the pretax year. The Tax Assessor of each municipality will value property as of October 1, 2012 and has until January 10, 2013 to review the taxable value of property on the tax rolls. An exception to this rule occurs when there has been a major depreciation in the value of a property that occurs between the statutory assessing date of October 1 and before January 1 of the following year. If a property owner experiences depreciation of value from a casualty that occurs after January 1 of the tax year, the property owner is not entitled to a reduction in assessment for that year.

As noted above, New Jersey’s statute (N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1) provides:

When any parcel of real property contains any building or other structure which has been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished, or altered in such a way that its value has materially depreciated, either intentionally or by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, or earthquake, or other casualty, which depreciation of value occurred after October first in any year and before January first of the following year, the assessor shall, upon notice thereof being given to him by the property owner prior to January tenth of said year, and after examination and inquiry, determine the value of such parcel of real property as of said January first, and assess the same according to such value.

Therefore, any property owner that has sustained major damage in New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy should notify the Tax Assessor of that municipality in writing and the assessment may be adjusted for tax year 2013.

For more information concerning property tax appeals, please contact:

Jill D. Rosenberg, Member of the Firm | (973) 530-2102 | jrosenberg@wolffsamson.com 
John F. CaseyMember of the Firm | (973) 530-2017 | jcasey@wolffsamson.com