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Real estate tax appeals look a lot like court room litigation

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2022 | Real Estate Law

Owning your own home is an accomplishment, especially now. For the past few years, the New Jersey housing market has been, in a word, unprecedented, and even with the Federal Reserve rate hikes, there are still no signs of calm. But, for those who already own their home, they have an ongoing battle with their county tax assessor who thinks their real estate tax bill should increase every year. Luckily, they can appeal their tax assessment, but that appeal can look a lot like court room litigation.

Does that mean I have to be a lawyer to appeal?

No. You have two options. You can appeal by yourself, or you can hire a Mahwah, New Jersey, real estate attorney to represent you at the appeal. While the process is designed for non-lawyers to handle, remember, the person representing the county is very likely going to be an attorney. And, the process itself is set up to be quasi-judicial.

How can I prepare?

The three keys to winning any adversarial proceeding is preparation, preparation and preparation. For a property tax appeal, this starts with deciding what you are arguing. Are you going to argue actual value, equalized taxable value or some kind of special value? Once you have decided this, you can decide how you are going to prove it.

What can I bring to prove my case?

It really depends on what you are trying to prove. If you are trying to prove that the actual value of your Mahwah, New Jersey, home is lower than assessed because of some damage, you will need photos of that damage, along with quotes to repair that damage. You can then argue that the actual value is the assessed value minus those repair costs, or if the assessed value is based on quality level, you can argue that the actual value should be at a lower quality level.

If you are using assessed values for other properties, you will need those values from the assessor. And, if you are using an alternate property appraisal, you will need both the appraisal and the appraiser.