Following the housing industry crash of 2008, home property values fell drastically across the nation, but many county tax assessors are using outdated and usually higher figures to determine current property taxes. According to the National Taxpayers Union, the average home value fell 30 percent -- 25 percent in New Jersey -- since the 2006 home industry peak, but over half of all property tax assessments are entirely too high, says personal financial expert Suze Orman. If you believe your current property tax bill is too high, you may challenge the assessment to adjust and lower your annual property tax bill.
Hire a home appraiser to determine the current and fair market value of your home. Chances are your home has dipped slightly in value since the housing market crash of 2008 and you want to provide evidence that your property tax assessment is in error and excessive. Attach a copy of your home appraisal to your petition, and notify the hired appraiser that he must attend your appeals hearing to testify to his report if the appraisal is permissible as evidence.
Visit the state division of taxation's website and print out a petition of appeal for property taxes. Complete the form detailing your name and personal information in addition to the current tax year's assessment details and the assessment you plan to request.
Gather additional evidence such as recent home sales of other properties in your neighborhood comparable to your own in aspects of recent sales price, zoning, square footage, age and style of construction. You may access SR-1A forms, sales ratio forms at the county tax board office and property deeds at the county clerk's office. Both of these forms are public and advantageous to establish comparable sales. Print and attach three to five additional home sales, and attach them to your petition.
File your petition along with the necessary filing fee indicated on the form on or before April 1 of the current tax year via mail or in person at: The Tax Court of New Jersey Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex 25 Market Street Trenton, New Jersey Mailing address: PO Box 972, Trenton, NJ 08625-0972. Filing fees will vary with the assessed value and/or classification of each property.
Attend your property tax appeal hearing on the date indicated on the court notice you receive from the New Jersey Tax Court. Hearings are usually necessary to settle tax appeals, but if your local tax assessor or municipal attorney reaches a settlement before the hearing, it usually isn't necessary to attend. Hearings are usually held three months from the April 1 tax appeals filing deadline.
Items you will need
- List of home sales
- New Jersey State Division of Taxation: A Guide to Tax Appeal Hearings
- New Jersey Local News: Reducing Property Taxes in Possible
- "Oprah": Advice-Financial To-Do List; Suze Orman; January 2010
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images