Trenton’s revaluation has been a long time coming. Originally slated for 2016, it’s official for 2017. Property owners are now receiving notices of the new assessments proposed by the revaluation company hired by Trenton and the Trenton’s assessor. If the new assessment is not scrutinized, the Taxpayer, whether the property owner or triple net tenant, will be stuck with the new assessment.

Trenton is a City in transition. Properties range from abandoned buildings and vacant lots to thriving offices, residential, retail, industrial, and other uses. Because of the vast range in the condition of properties in Trenton and their utility, sales and other data establish values that range all over the place. Simply put, the real estate market has not established a well-defined and clear guide to a property’s market value so the potential exists for a wide range of opinions as to the value of a particular property.

It is important that a taxpayer, whether the property owner or tenant responsible for payment of real property taxes, be vigilant and proactive. What should the savvy property owner/taxpayer do?

  1. First, collect information on the property and other similar properties. Review your assessment. Is it fairly reflective of the property’s market value? Remember that the goal and legal obligation of Trenton and its representatives, the revaluation company, and the assessor is to assess all property uniformly. This means that the assessment or true value of each and every property should theoretically be equal to its market value. That value should be equal to the price that an informed buyer and an informed seller would agree to as of the valuation date, October 1, 2016.
  2. Second, request the property record card. Often mistakes are made during inspections that affect value.
  3. Third, make an appointment with the revaluation company, Appraisal Systems. Occasionally favorable adjustments to assessments result from these meetings.
  4. Fourth, consult with specialists in the field. Remember, Appraisal Systems has already decided that a property is worth exactly the amount of the assessment in your notice. There is a lot of jargon and legal precedent that applies to this field of law which impacts how assessments are determined. It is important to have competent proof of value. For commercial properties, often the services of a licensed real estate appraiser are required. Tax appeal attorneys can guide you at any time during the process, including an appeal to the County Board of Taxation or the Tax Court of New Jersey.

One Last Takeaway

Revaluation programs are very infrequent because of their huge cost. Thus, the assessment placed on the assessor’s books in 2017 will be the assessment for years unless the taxpayer takes measures to mitigate its impact and manage the tax burden.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Stark & Stark’s tax appeal attorneys.