Tax Appeals

The New Jersey Legislation adopted a formula known as Chapter 123 in 1973 to test the fairness of an assessment. Once the Tax Board has determined the true market value of a property during an appeal, they are required to automatically compare the true market value to the assessment. 

If the ratio of the assessment to the true value exceeds the average ratio by 15%, then the assessment is automatically reduced to the common level. 

However, if the assessment falls within this common level range, no adjustment will be made. If the assessment to true value ratio falls below the common level, the Tax Board is obligated to increase the assessment to the common level. 

This test assumes the taxpayer will supply sufficient evidence to the Tax Board so they may determine the true market value of the property subject to the appeal. You should inquire into your district’s average ratio before filing a tax appeal. This ratio changes annually on October 1, for use in the subsequent tax year.

Once you have filed your tax appeal, a hearing before the Bergen County Tax Board is scheduled. The Bergen County Board consists of five members appointed by the governor. The Tax Board Commissioners are appointed primarily to hear disputes involving assessments. The municipality is the opposing party and will be represented by the municipal attorney. The assessor and/or an appraiser may appear at your hearing as an expert witness for the municipality.

A hearing is always necessary. If the assessor, municipal attorney, and the taxpayer agree to a settlement or the issues are otherwise resolved, it may not be necessary for you to attend your hearing, particularly if a settlement stipulation form is submitted to the Tax Board for their approval.

An assessment is an opinion of value. Uniformity of treatment dictates minor adjustments are not made simply due to a recent sales price. For various other reasons the subject’s sales price may not necessarily be either conclusive evidence of the property’s true market value, or binding upon the Tax Board. An examination of the circumstances surrounding a sale is always important.

Tax appeal hearings are generally held after the April 1 annual deadline. Adjournments are generally denied. It is suggested that you make every attempt to attend your hearing. If you miss your hearing and have not received a written notice postponing your case, you may assume the case has been dismissed. If you do not attend your hearing, your case will be dismissed for lack of prosecution.

No. All meetings of the Board of Taxation are public meetings.

Yes. Owners of rental income properties must supply an income statement at the time of filing on special forms provided by the Tax Board. Since the income generated by a property has a direct bearing on the owner’s ability to market the property, and therefore its value, this evidence may be useful in arguing both sides of an appeal.

Besides your municipal assessor, anyone whose occupation is a real estate appraiser, and whose designation as such is from a legitimate association of professionals, is considered an expert. An expert’s qualifications may be challenged by the municipal attorney at the hearing.

In addition, if you intend to rely on expert testimony at your hearing, you must supply one copy of an appraisal report to the assessor, and one copy to every member of the County Tax Board and Tax Administrator at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled hearing. The appraiser who completed the report must be available at the hearing to give testimony and to afford the municipality and Tax Board an opportunity to cross-examine the witness.

If you are dissatisfied with the judgment rendered by the Tax Board, you will have 45 days from the date your judgment was mailed to file a further appeal with the Tax Court of New Jersey. If your property is assessed for more than $750,000, you may file directly with the Tax Court by April 1 annually.

In order for an assessment to be deemed excessive or discriminatory, a taxpayer must prove an assessment does not fairly represent one of the two standards:

  • Following a revaluation, all assessments must represent 100% of true market value as of the previous October 1. The October 1 pre-tax date is called the annual "assessment date". All evidence submitted in a tax appeal must be on or near the assessment date, especially property sales used as comparisons.
  • The other standard is the "common level" or common level range established in your municipality. To explain the common level range you must consider what happens following a revaluation. or reassessment. Once a revaluation or reassessment is completed, external factors such as inflation, appreciation, and depreciation may cause values to increase or decrease at varying rates.

Credible evidence is evidence supported by fact, not assumptions or beliefs. Photographs of both the subject property (the property subject to the appeal) and comparisons are useful in illustrating your argument. Factual evidence concerning special circumstances is necessary.

Call the County Clerk's Election Division immediately. There are many reasons why an application can be rejected. Usually, this happens because the signature on the application does not match the signature on file in voter registration, or because there is some other discrepancy with your registration. These problems are usually resolved easily, but we can only help if you call the office at 201-336-7020.

Any registered voter may apply to vote by mail using an authorized messenger. The messenger must be a member of the voter's family or a registered voter of Bergen County. The voter must provide the authorized messenger's name and address in section 12 of the application, and must sign the application on the line provided. The authorized messenger must show photo ID and sign the application in the presence of a county clerk election official and deliver the mail-in ballot directly to the voter. An authorized messenger will be permitted to serve as a messenger for no more than 10 qualified voters per election.

Any registered voter with a primary residence in Bergen County may use a mail-in ballot.