Earlier this month, N.J. Governor Chris Christie signed into law S-1213/A-1591 which creates an “Assessment Demonstration Program” that could substantially change the property tax assessment and appeal process in New Jersey. The law was intended to determine if a more cost-effective and accurate property tax administration process could be achieved. a program referred to as the “Assessment Demonstration Program” which is intended to demonstrate whether a more cost-effective and accurate process of property assessment administration can be implemented in New Jersey. The program modifies the timing of the appeal season and filing requirements so that assessment disputes are more likely to be settled prior to the filing of the final assessment list with the County Board of Taxation.
For counties taking part in the pilot program, the law revises the relevant statutory dates for the assessment real property and for appealing those assessments, in the following ways:
- Notification of Assessment postcards must be sent by the municipality to property owners by November 15 of the pretax year, as opposed to the current deadline of February 1 of the tax year;
- Appeals of assessments to the county tax board must be filed by January 15 of the tax year, instead of the current April 1st deadline;
- The deadline for filing appeals of assessments that exceed $1 million made directly to the Tax Court remains April 1 of the tax year.
According to the Act, up to four counties may participate in the pilot program — no more than two in the first two years, and no more than an additional two in the third and fourth years. The Act also grants a the county tax board the power to compel a municipality within to implement a revaluation or reassessment of all real property within the municipality. If the municipality fails to complete the compelled revaluation or reassessment in a timely manner, the county tax board may contract for the revaluation or reassessment at the municipality’s cost.
Tax appeal practitioners around New Jersey have questioned whether this program will achieve its intended goals, and are concerned that the implementation of the program on a piecemeal basis may instead complicate the ability of the County Tax Boards and the New Jersey Tax Court to administer and resolve the significant caseload of appeals already pending and which is likely to continue into the future. Monmouth County will implement the pilot program starting in 2014.
Stay tuned for progress reports on the program as it proceeds.