Ewing Township’s revaluation has been a long time coming and appears to be done. Property owners in Ewing Township will be receiving their new real estate tax assessment notices in the next few weeks and will have a small window to meet with the revaluation company to discuss the new tax assessment or file a tax appeal.

The 2019 tax assessments will ultimately be used to calculate your real estate tax liability for 2019. Since New Jersey has one of the highest tax burdens in the United States, commercial, retail and industrial property owners, and tenants under net leases who pay real estate taxes, need to be diligent and closely scrutinize and review their new tax assessments.

Preparation and screening are key to a successful tax assessment challenge. Property owners need to gather crucial information and meet with an experienced tax appeal lawyer or appraiser in a timely manner in order to complete a careful review of the facts necessary to screen the merits of an appeal.

What should an owner or tenant (who pays real estate taxes) of a commercial, retail, or industrial property do?

First, obtain copies of all leases and assemble accurate financial statements for the property. It is very important to have a detailed breakdown of income and expenses for several years to allow a proper analysis using the income approach to valuation. If the property is owner-occupied, detailed expense information is crucial.

Second, request a copy of your property record card from your tax assessor. A property record card will have key information regarding your property, including measurements of the size of the building. Sometimes, the property record card contains mistakes. You can often lower your tax assessment by pointing out any mistakes on the property record card.

Third, meet with an experienced lawyer or appraiser to help you estimate the value of your property so you can compare the new tax assessment to the fair market value of the property. For 2019 tax appeals, the valuation date is October 1, 2018 – what was your property’s value on this date?

Fourth, if you think the assessment is too high, schedule an appointment with the revaluation company to discuss a reduction. Please note that revaluation companies often provide owners with a short time period to meet.

Finally, if all else fails, file a tax appeal. Although the normal tax appeal deadline is April 1, 2019 for a 2019 tax appeal, the deadline will be extended in Ewing Township to May 1, 2019, because of the revaluation.

In the event you have any questions concerning a revaluation of real estate tax assessments, please do not hesitate to contact Stark & Stark’s tax appeal attorneys.