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New Jersey Approves Assessment Pilot Program

by Tom Branham, Washington D.C., August 2013

 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation into law creating a pilot program that could substantially change the state's property tax assessment and appeal process. The law is intended to determine if a more cost-effective and accurate property tax administration process can be achieved.

 

Monmouth County, located within the New York Metropolitan Area, is the first to try out the Assessment Demonstration Program.

 

Changes Coming

 

Property owners in Monmouth County can expect the following changes for Tax Year 2014:

 

  • Assessment postcard notices will be mailed on November 15, 2013 rather than in February, 2014

  • Appeals to the county board must be filed by January 15, instead of April 1

  • The appeal deadline for assessments exceeding $1 million made directly to the Tax Court remains April 1

The pilot program modifies the timing of the appeal season and filing requirements so that appeals are more likely to be settled before local jurisdictions set their budgets. Another key feature requires assessors to use the same standardized property assessment software - the MOD-IV/CAMA system.

 

More Counties May Participate

 

The law allows up to four counties to be part of the pilot program during the next five years. No more than two counties can participate during the first two years and no more than two more in the third and fourth years. Monmouth County is the first and only county that has agreed to be part of the test.

 

Officials say no state funds will be spent on implementing the pilot program. The county board of taxation in a county that participates will absorb the cost of the data conversion through appeal filing fees. Monmouth County has not released details about higher fees.

 

Lawmakers will analyze the results of the pilot program over the next five years before a decision is made on whether to implement the changes statewide.