Tax appeal season will be starting again in just a few short weeks. By November 15, Monmouth County property owners will be able to view their 2017 tax assessments and file appeals on those assessments. By February 1, property owners in other counties will be able to view and appeal their assessments. With these deadlines in mind we need to deal with the subject of revaluations (and in particular, Monmouth County revaluations) and how they should affect your decision as to whether to file a new appeal for 2017.
As many Monmouth County taxpayers are aware, the county has adopted the Assessment Demonstration Program, which encourages its towns to perform annual revaluations or re-assessments of all properties on a continual basis. Only a few towns in Monmouth County have, thus far, opted out of this program. Since properties that have been revaluated or re-assessed are not subject to the limitations of the Freeze Act, the following information may apply if you have filed a tax appeal during a prior year:
- If you currently have a Tax Appeal pending in Tax Court for a prior tax year, please be advised that the reduction in assessment that you may receive when that appeal is finally heard or settled might only be applicable to the tax year for which the appeal was filed. In order for you to preserve your rights with regard to your 2017 assessment, you will need to file a separate appeal for 2017. Please note that in cases where the original assessment of the property is under $1,000,000, the 2017 appeal must originate as a filing in the County Tax Board, before it can be “affirmed” and then appealed to the Tax Court.
- If you filed a tax appeal in a prior year and you already received a Judgment in your favor, please contact your assessor to confirm that your 2017 assessment is the same as it was after you received the reduction for the prior year. This information should be available by the beginning of November for Monmouth County taxpayers and by the middle of January for all other counties. If your assessment has been raised, please contact our office to discuss filing an appeal for 2017.
To be clear, we are not suggesting that there would not be circumstances under which the tax assessor would need to change the assessment in the year following a tax appeal. Nor are we implying that we could even use the same evidence that was used to win the tax appeal in the prior year. What we are suggesting, however, is that you should take a moment to review your 2017 assessment, rather than assuming that it will be the same as it was in 2016. We have found that in matters we have settled, tax assessors are very often gracious enough to not raise the assessment in a subsequent year. However, in contested matters that require trials in order for us to get an assessment reduced, the tax assessors are sometimes slightly more protective of their assessments, and in those cases, it is not unusual to see the assessment raised in the year following the appeal.
For questions regarding this topic, or to file a new appeal for 2017, please feel free to contact our office.
 Historically, the Freeze Act has allowed taxpayers to retain their reduced assessments for an additional two years following a successful tax appeal. However, the Freeze Act is not applicable in cases where there is a municipal-wide revaluation or re-assessment.
 The County Tax Boards generally do not like adjudicating a matter in which the Tax Court is already scheduled to hear for a prior year. However, direct appeals to the Tax Court are only possible when the assessment exceeds $1,000,000. Therefore, we must first file them at the County Tax Board and get “consent” from the assessor to have the assessment affirmed, before we can appeal.