Hey Jersey City, let's #GetCivic with the Property Tax Revaluation:
1. Get the Who/What/Where/When/Why/How basics on our 1st Property Revaluation in 30 years.
2. Figure out if your new tax bill will be fair or not. It's simpler than you may think.
3. Understand why Revaluation is a social justice imperative in gentrifying Jersey City.
4. Be part of the solution for tax justice in Jersey City.
5. Keep up to date on Property Revaluation News & Updates.
Jersey City's Property Revaluation:
- ASI's website page for Jersey City residents here.
- ASI's generic powerpoint that explains the Revaluation process is here. This is an excellent overview of the general process.
- ASI provided Ward-specific overviews of the Revaluation in the spring of 2017. I attended the Ward "A" meeting and summarized the meeting in a CivicParent post here.
Per this NJ State Legislature report, in 2005 there were only 12 firms statewide that conducted citywide revaluations, and fewer still able to conduct revaluations of larger cities like Jersey City. Property Revaluation is multi-month process conducted by firms that specialize in real estate appraisal services.
Property Revaluation updates all assessed values in the city to be equal to market values. Specifically...your property has 2 values associated with it:
- Assessed value - this is the value according to the government. This value is listed in the city tax office and it appears on your tax bill. This value is updated only at specific points in time, including during a citywide revaluation.
- Market value - this is the value according to the real estate market. This value is constantly fluctuating, depending on the real estate market at large.
The last time Jersey City conducted a citywide property revaluation was 1988. So, the assessed values in the city's tax office are outdated by nearly 30 years.
Property Revaluation is a lengthy, multi-month process. The Jersey City Tax Office will have the most up to date and reliable information about timeline. I will share here, though, that the originally reported timeline had the Revaluation process ending in the late 2017 timeframe. However, this Nov 2017 article from The Jersey Journal notes that the original timeline has been delayed and the process will continue into 2018.
Property Revaluation happens to ensure everyone pays his/her "fair share" in local taxes. "Fair share" is dependent on your home's tax assessed value being equal to its market value. If your assessed value is NOT equal to your market value, you may be paying too much or too little in property taxes.
Conducting a citywide revaluation is a social justice imperative in Jersey City. I've written an entire section about why that is the case here.
Appraisal Systems Inc, the firm conducting the Revaluation, has outlined the process in an informative presentation that is embedded on its website. Taxpayers can contact Appraisal Systems with specific questions about the process. I recommend reading the entire presentation, but want to highlight the following slides:
- Slide 26 - explains the initial "notification of value" (i.e. when you get your new assessment).
- Starting on Slide 27 - explains the informal hearing you are entitled to if you disagree with ASI's estimate of your market value.
- Starting on Slide 30 - explains the formal tax appeal process if you disagree with the final assessment that is filed with the city.
It's critical that homeowners understand their own market value. If you understand your market value, you can then understand if the value assigned to your property by ASI is fair or not. I wrote about steps you can take to understand your you are fairly taxed here. It is important that your new assessment be equal to market value. If your assessment is HIGHER than your market value, then you are effectively going to be OVER-TAXED. And that is unfair.
This pamphlet published by the NJ Division of Taxation provides additional details and links about property revaluation basics.
Jersey City property taxes, as seen through state compliance data:
Jersey City's last citywide revaluation was in 1988.
Jersey City's 2017 equalization ratio is 23.66%.
Jersey City's 2017 coefficient of deviation is 35.66%.
On this map: Green = under-taxed | Red = over-taxed
NJ property tax law is based on this foundational premise: assessed values are supposed to equal market values. Put another way: your tax bill is supposed to be based on the market value of your home. The state tracks how compliant a city is with this premise with something called an "Assessment-Sales Ratio" which is defined as:
This map shows the wide disparity in assessment-sales ratios throughout the city. Two examples to illustrate this concept:
The green areas show census blocks dominated by LOW ratios. A good example of a low ratio is a Downtown brownstone that was assessed in 1988 for $100,000 (at the time, that was its market value) but in 2017 that brownstone is now worth $1,000,000. In this example, the Assessment Ratio is:
$100,000 / $1,000,000 = 10%
The red areas show census blocks dominated by HIGH ratios. A good example of a high ratio is a house in the heart of Greenville that is surrounded by blighted storefronts. In 1988 this house was also assessed at $100,000 (at the time, that was its market value), but that house is now worth only $200,000. In this example, the Assessment Ratio is:
$100,000 / $200,000 = 50%
Revaluation will update all assessed values to be equal to 2017 market values. That will re-institute fairness into the system.
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