New Jersey Tax Appeal Fling Deadlines: A Cautionary Tail

April Calendar.jpgWe are frequently asked questions from clients regarding the Tax Appeal filing deadline. Generally, the filing deadline for all real estate tax appeals is April 1, although the deadline is routinely extended by a month in during revaluation years. In one such matter, our firm successfully argued to the Tax Court that while the taxpayer missed the filing deadline, the delay in filing was excusable due to the fact that the taxpayer was not afforded proper notice of the change in his assessment. However, cases in which the filing deadline is waived are extremely rare and taxpayers must take special care to ensure that the April 1 filing deadline is not missed.

In the matter of Shin v. Borough of Norwood (App. Div. 2012), the appellants were property owners who had attempted to file their 2010 tax appeals with the Bergen County Board of Taxation on the April 1, 2010 filing deadline. The problem was that the attorney for the taxpayers had retained the services of a courier service, who apparently did not understand the urgency of the filing deadline. The courier showed up to the Bergen County Board of Taxation on April 1, but after the Board’s 4:30 closing time. The courier then re-attempted service on April 2. The filing was rejected as a “late filing.”

The Taxpayer then appealed to Tax Court, claiming that the filings should have been accepted. The municipality filed, and was granted a Motion to Dismiss, based upon the relevant law that states that all filings must be received by April 1. The taxpayer subsequently appealed the Tax Court’s decision. In affirming the Tax Court’s decision to dismiss the Taxpayer’s appeal, the Appellate Division remarked that the County Boards of Taxation have authority to set their own hours and that they were simply following their usual procedure and closing at 4:30 P.M. There was no bad faith or malfeasance on the part of the County Tax Board and it was the Taxpayer’s obligation to ensure that the application was filed by April 1, prior to the Board’s closing time.

Under N..J.S.A. 54:3-21 as well as New Jersey Court Rule 8:1-1, appeals must be filed by April 1. The deadline is extended to May 1 in revaluation years. In light of the strict filing deadlines our office will not accept any new Tax Appeal matters after March 23. For an initial consultation, please contact our office.