In December 2017 I shared how to determine if your new assessment is fair or not. In this post I'm adding new information, including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), about the appeals process.
Property tax appeals in Jersey City are due June 18th, 2018. This means: you must file your appeal by June 18th. The process of appealing - including appearing before the County Tax Board to make your case for lowering your assessment - will follow in the weeks after June 18th.
A tax appeal is when you petition the County Tax Board to lower your tax assessed value. By lowering your assessed value, you can in turn lower the tax expense the city will expect you to pay in the coming year.
Hudson County has a Tax Appeal Filing Packet online here that explains the entire process. It is a dense document, but exhaustive and inclusive of what you need to know to appeal your taxes. It does contains a lot of tax jargon, so I've also created my own frequently asked questions (FAQs) about tax appeals and the appeals process.
My FAQ is based on:
- Research, analysis, and written posts available at JerseyCityRevaluation.org, which is part of CivicParent.org.
- My advocacy with Jersey City Together. In 2017 I was part of a JC Together team that helped residents understand the process of appealing. We hosted workshops to help educate residents understand if they were over-taxed or not, and about the appeals process in general. I also attended tax appeal hearings to witness the process first hand (and as a show of support for residents who were appealing). It was a learning experience for me which I'm happy to share about now, in the hopes it helps more people avoid unfair over-taxation in Jersey City. The 2017 Jersey City Together tax appeal campaign helped over 30 residents save over $40,000 in annual tax expense.
This FAQ is *not* tax or accounting advice and should not be construed as such. CivicParent is a volunteer endeavor on my part and is intended for general information purposes only. If you need professional assistance of a financial or legal nature, it is important that you engage a licensed professional to assist you. Such a professional should be clear, and put in writing, the terms about how he/she can help you including specific details around scope and terms, including amount, of payment. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
CivicParent Frequently Asked Questions
- Fee-Based. You can pay a licensed appraiser to inspect your property and estimate your market value. This consumer brief from the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs explains more about licensed appraisers. This is arguably the most provable determination of your market value if you had to defend market value for appeal purposes.
- Non-Fee-Based. You can also determine your market value for free, which may require consulting with a realtor and/or some additional learning and advocacy on your part. A licensed realtor can help you understand what your home's value is and what is driving the price point. A key set of data the realtor will use: comparable sales(something the appraiser also typically uses). You can also look up comparable sales, on your own, in the NJ Assessments Records database. I downloaded Jersey City 2017 Class "2" (1-4 family) sales from this database and mapped them here to illustrate the type of information that is available in this database. An important point to note: this is data about home sales, but it's tracked by the state for tax purposes only...so it lacks more nuanced information your realtor might have access to, like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage and parking details, and qualification around recent upgrades.
- Usable. A "usable sale" is a tax term that is part of the tax record. Generally speaking, "usable" sales are 3rd party sales where the price point is a true proxy of market value. State law defines a specific list of "non-usable sale" types which you can read about here.
- Recent. To qualify as a recent sale for 2018 property tax appeal purposes, the sale must have occurred on or before Oct 1, 2017.