From the Courier News:
Knowing how to get a property tax bill reduced has made Terri LaPoint one of the most popular people in town.
In the past couple of years, the Brielle resident has helped about 15 of her friends and neighbors navigate New Jersey’s property tax appeal system.
“People don’t know they can do this. It’s very easy,” she said.
Because property taxes are tied to a home’s assessed value, that meant that many homeowners — herself included — were paying more than their fair share.
The remedy: appealing the assessment to the county Board of Taxation.
LaPoint said everyone she’s helped so far has slashed their assessments by at least $65,000. One couple cut their property tax bill by $1,900 the first year. LaPoint lopped 20 percent off her own assessment, saving herself nearly $1,500 in taxes.
Her advice: If you think you’re over-assessed, find out what comparable homes in your town are selling for, and if the evidence is there, file an appeal.
The deadline is soon: April 1. If your town had a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment in the past tax year, then the deadline is May 1.
“If you have an hour, you can do this,” LaPoint said. “I mean, you have nothing to lose.”
Cash-strapped New Jersey homeowners, saddled with the highest property taxes in the nation at an average of $7,576 per home, are getting the message.
More than 74,000 property tax appeals were filed last year, triple the amount in 2007, according to the New Jersey Division of Taxation. Residential homeowners filed approximately three-quarters of the appeals.
The total was the highest in 17 years, in large part because of the sharp decline in home values. About 60 percent of all appeals led to a revised assessment, resulting in $3.2 billion in assessed value reductions, a 9.5 percent rollback, state figures show.
That outcome isn’t surprising, given that assessments in many municipalities across the state are badly out of whack.
A New Jersey Press Media analysis of home sales data found that inaccurate assessments likely cost New Jersey property owners as much as $1.6 billion in annual property tax overpayments.