Measure Would Empower Taxpayers to Appeal Massive Tax Hikes Due to Revaluation
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Bob Gordon which would extend the deadline for taxpayers to appeal their property assessment under a municipal-wide revaluation was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention.
“New Jerseyans face some of the highest property taxes in the entire nation, and unfortunately, due to cuts in State aid to municipalities, may see their tax bills going higher still,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “We need to give these hard-hit taxpayers an opportunity to appeal when they believe their taxes have been unfairly increased. If we’re ever going to do something about the affordability crisis in New Jersey, we must first make sure that taxpayers have the means and the opportunity to appeal unfair tax hikes.”
“During these tough economic times, we’ve seen more and more taxpayers exercising their option to appeal local tax increases,” said Senator Gordon, D-Bergen. “However, in the case of a revaluation, the local taxpayer may not yet know the impact on their property taxes, and may need more time to prepare an appeal. In these cases, it’s incumbent on the State to give due deference to the property taxpayers who are already paying some of the highest taxes in the country.”
The bill, S-861, would change the deadlines for property taxpayers to appeal after a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment has been implemented. Under the bill, taxpayers would be able to appeal any increase in their taxes on or before May 1 following a revaluation, or 90 days from the date on which the taxing district sent out their bulk notification of assessment, whichever’s later. Under current law, property owners only have until May 1 to file an appeal after a municipal-wide revaluation, but the sponsors argued that deadline may be too short for property owners still trying to understand the impact of revaluation.
“This is a simple matter of fairness to taxpayers who need to have the opportunity to appeal overly burdensome tax hikes,” said Senator Weinberg. “It might not be immediately apparent what the bottom line impact of revaluation is, and this bill provides extra time for appeals for those who need it.”
“At the end of the day, taxpayers deserve a voice in the revaluation process, and that’s why the appeals mechanism is in place,” said Senator Gordon. “However, if we don’t give property owners adequate time to avail themselves of the appeal process, we’re doing them a great injustice in the State of New Jersey.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.