The owner of the Morristown Hyatt hotel has prevailed in a challenge to an $8,000,000 “added assessment” for 2009 levied by the Town of Morristown onto the property’s local tax assessment. The property owner, Fifth Roc Jersey Associates, LLC applied for protection under the “Freeze Act”, N.J.S.A. 41:51A-8, which provides that a successful tax appeal claimant is protected from changes to a reduced property tax assessment for the tax year in question and two years thereafter, unless there are changes in value to the property after the assessment date or the municipality undergoes a town-wide revaluation.
The New Jersey Tax Court granted the owner’s application, thereby precluding the town from raising the property tax assessment from $16,500,000 to $24,500,000, over the town’s objection which was made on the basis that the property owner had not filed a separate complaint challenging the added assessment by the town. The court rejected Morristown’s contention that Fifth Roc’s failure to appeal its 2009 added assessment deprived the Tax Court of jurisdiction, and found that changes to the property, which was undergoing renovations during the time in question, were either de minimus or took place after the statutory deadline applicable to “added assessments”.
As a result of this decision, the property owner will receive a property tax refund in excess of $200,000.
A copy of the Tax Court’s opinion in Fifth Roc Jersey Associates, L.L.C. v. Town of Morristown is available here.
We previously covered this matter in our New Jersey Property Tax Law Blog in a story regarding a prior year’s application of the Freeze Act. The prior decision had a similar outcome.