After the Storm: Property Tax Issues After Sandy

As New Jerseyans dig out from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the last thing on their minds may be next year’s property taxes.  But unless a property owner notifies the assessor before January 10, 2013 that his or her property has been damaged, destroyed or “materially depreciated” by the storm, next year’s taxes could be based upon the pre-Hurricane Sandy condition of the property rather than its present damaged or destroyed value.

New Jersey property taxes are based upon the property’s value on October 1 preceding the tax year.  For 2013, the value is determined as of October 1, 2012.  There is an important exception to this general rule:  when there is material depreciation after October 1 but before January 1 and the assessor receives notice of this depreciation before January 10, the assessor must value the property as of January 1, 2013.  If your property has lost significant value between October 1 and January 1, the different valuation date is critical.

If the property owner fails to notify the assessor of the damage or material depreciation, then the assessor is not obligated to consider it when assessing the property for next year.  Case law makes it clear that the notice must be given to the assessor, and that the awareness of the damage or depreciation by other municipal officials does not satisfy the statute’s requirement.

Property owners whose properties have been materially damaged by Hurricane Sandy should take advantage of this limited exception to the October 1 valuation requirement.  If they do not formally notify the assessor before January 10, however, this tax break will be gone with the wind.

We extend our sympathies to those who have been impacted by the storm.  We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about property tax reductions due to storm damage.  You should also bear in mind that even if an assessment is reduced because of storm damage, a property owner still has the right to file a tax appeal if he or she does not agree with the amount of the reduction.

Upon request, we can send you a form that you can use to request a reduction in your property tax assessment if it qualifies.

If you have questions relating to your property tax assessment, please feel free to contact McKirdy & Riskin, PA, http://www.mckirdyriskin.com, at 973-539-8900, or info@mckirdyriskin.com.

The author wishes to thank Jeffrey Lewis, Esq. of McKirdy & Riskin, PA for his assistance in preparing this blog post.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “After the Storm: Property Tax Issues After Sandy

  1. madelyn bromley

    if you decide that it is best to knock down the house rather than repair and remodel…and all you have left is the land (lot) you no longer have to pay taxes on the house correct?? does the same deadline pertain to this situation?? thank you for any info you an pass on

  2. Pingback: After the Storm: Property Tax Issues After Sandy | New Jersey … | Tax Attorney

  3. Paul Gregaitis

    What is the best way to notify the Assessor?

  4. I would like a form also. Nancy Denny

  5. Pingback: Hurricane Sandy’s Effects on Real Estate, Part I: Appraisals « Jersey Girl Properties

  6. Pingback: Hurricane Sandy’s Effects on Real Estate, Part II: Property Tax Issues « Jersey Girl Properties

  7. Patricia De Angelis

    Rich does it matter if we already filed an appeal last year?

  8. Carolyn & Tom Pogorzelski

    Thanks for the info. We would appreciate a form also .Carolyn & Tom

  9. carol snyder

    Can you go directly to the town’s tax office and fill out form there and
    submit it at the same time? Thank you.
    Carol

  10. The form is always available on the county website, in most cases for NJ it is the Ocean County website. The form is only one page and is quick to fill out. It goes to your town’s tax assessor’s office

  11. A property owner still has the right to file a tax appeal if he or she does not agree with the amount of the reduction.

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