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In New Jersey, tax assessment cards are now in the mail.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-38.1, every municipal tax assessor, prior to February 1, shall provide, by mail, each taxpayer with the current assessment on the taxpayer's property and the property taxes that were levied on the property the preceding year. Thereafter, the assessor or county board of taxation shall notify each taxpayer by mail within 30 days of any change to the assessment.
Accordingly, all property owners should now be on the lookout for their assessment cards. If you do not receive your tax assessment card in the very near future, it is strongly advised that you contact your local tax assessor immediately in order to inquire as to what the current tax assessment is for your property.
The statutory deadline to file a tax appeal in New Jersey is a strict statutory deadline. N.J.S.A. 54:3-21 provides that all tax appeals must be filed by April 1st, or 45 days from the date the bulk mailing of notification of assessment is completed in the taxing district, whichever is later. Furthermore, in a taxing district where a municipal-wide revaluation or municipal-wide reassessment has been implemented, a taxpayer must file a property tax appeal before or on May 1st.
As we all know, the post office occasionally loses mail. Despite this reality, case law in New Jersey has established a presumption that mail properly addressed, stamped, and posted is received by the party to whom it was addressed. The conditions that must be shown to invoke the presumption are: (1) that the mailing was correctly addressed; (2) that proper postage was affixed; (3) that the return address was correct; and (4) that the mailing was deposited in a proper mail receptacle . . . ." SSI Medical Services, Inc. v. State, Dept. of Human Services, 146 N.J. 614, 621 (1996). In this situation, where a tax assessor's bulk-mailing of assessment cards are involved, proof of mailing can be demonstrated by evidence of a tax assessor's habit or routine practice, "evidence of office custom requires other corroboration that the custom was followed in a particular instance, in order to raise a presumption of mailing and receipt and meet the preponderance of the evidence standard." Davis & Associates, L.L.C. v. Stafford Twp., 18 N.J. Tax 621, 627 (Tax 2000).
This standard is very easy for a tax assessor to meet. As a result, taxpayers are almost always presumed to have received the tax assessment card that was allegedly mailed by a municipality's tax assessor. Consequently, if a taxpayer chooses to appeal an assessment after the statutory filing deadline (listed above) on the basis that the taxpayer never received the tax assessment notice from the tax assessor, the taxpayer must proof to the court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the taxpayer did not in fact receive the tax assessment notice. See Davis & Associates, 18 N.J. Tax 621 at 632-33. The Tax Court, in deciding whether or not a taxpayer did in fact receive a tax assessment notice, will inquire into how sophisticated the taxpayer is, whether or not the taxpayer keeps a log of all the mail that the taxpayer receives (something that most businesses do not even do), and the credibility of the taxpayer. It is all but impossible for a taxpayer to prove to the Tax Court that the taxpayer did not receive the tax assessment card. This is because if the evidence supplied by the taxpayer is just as believable as the evidence supplied by the municipality, then the court will deem the evidence in "equipoise" and the taxpayer's case will be barred as being untimely filed.
Consequently, it is imperative if you do not receive the tax assessment card in the very near future, that you immediately contact your tax assessor in order to determine what your current assessment is for your property. Once you are armed with this information, then you can begin the process of comparing your assessment to what the market value of your property was on October 1, 2008, and whether or not you should file a property tax appeal.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.