Compliance with New Jersey’s procedural law for the filing of a property tax appeal is critical. In fact, filing an untimely appeal (even if only a few days late) will lead to dismissal. The Tax Court recently affirmed this well-settled principle and reiterated that a tax appeal for the current year must be filed on or before April 1st, or 45 days from the date the bulk mailing of the notices of assessment are completed, whichever is later. See Romero v. North Plainfield Borough, Docket No. 012383-2011, New Jersey Tax Court, January 20, 2012. The only exception to this is where a municipal-wide revaluation or municipal-wide reassessment has been implemented. In those instances, the appeal deadline is May 1st.
In Romero, the property owner merely filed his property tax appeal three days after the April 1st deadline. The property owner filed a motion with the Board of Taxation to allow the late filing of the appeal. The Board granted the motion over the opposition of the municipality. Subsequently, the Board entered a judgment affirming the property tax assessment, without prejudice, and the property owner appealed to the Tax Court.
The court ruled that because the property tax appeal was not filed by the April 1st deadline, neither the Tax Board nor the Tax Court had jurisdiction to hear the matter. The court stated that “it is well-settled law of this state that taxpayers must strictly comply with the statutory time limitations for filing an appeal, and that failure to do so is a fatal jurisdictional defect.”
The case demonstrates the importance of complying with filing deadlines and shows how strictly the courts follow New Jersey’s statutory framework in the context of tax appeals.