Why Are Property Tax Assessments Appealed?
Because properties can be over assessed, resulting in Taxpayers paying more than their fair share of property taxes.
Who Can File A Property Tax Appeal Assessment Application?
Property tax appeals can be filed by property owners or tenants responsible for property taxes. A tenant’s right to appeal may be limited pursuant to the terms of their lease. Some states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, require attorney representation if the property is owned or leased by a corporation or LLC.
What Information Do I Need To Appeal A Property Tax Assessment?
Tax assessments cover both the property’s underlying land as well as any buildings on the property. For tax assessment purposes, the Tax Assessor ascribes a certain amount of value to the land and to the improvements. In order to appeal a property tax assessment, it’s necessary to have factual data about the property, including a physical description of the building (improvements) and the site. Our attorneys will want to know the age of the building, some of its other physical characteristics, such as ceiling heights and whether it is heated or air-conditioned, number of loading docks and accessibility to roadways.
To properly evaluate many commercial properties, information regarding the income and expenses, e.g., rent paid (or received), utilities, taxes, maintenance and insurance, will be necessary. This would apply to industrial properties, warehouses, apartment complexes, office space and retail space, among others. In addition, a copy of the property’s lease or leases can be extremely helpful in determining whether the property is over assessed.
At Stavitsky & Associates, we are committed to providing our clients with high caliber, sound advice. To do this, we focus on how the property is assessed and valued by the Tax Assessor in order to save our clients tax dollars. After review of the property details and market data, we make a recommendation as to whether a property tax appeal should be filed.
Why Choose Stavitsky & Associates?
We have been engaged in the practice of property tax appeals for 36 years. As a result, we have become expert about the valuation process and property tax appeals. We understand how appraisers appraise property and how Assessors assess property. We analyze a property tax assessment by looking at market factors, such as economic or market rents for properties such as office buildings, distribution warehouses and retail. We also examine how a property’s income stream compares to similar properties in the market.
Our practice focuses primarily on commercial, industrial and special purpose properties. We also have extensive experience representing owners of residential apartment complexes and hotels. What sets Stavitsky & Associates apart is our commitment to our clients and truly understanding the property.
At the onset, we personally inspect every property to understand what really makes it “tick.” We ask the right questions to determine whether there is anything that may affect the value of the property such as obsolescence issues, including inefficient design by today’s standards, low ceiling heights or poor location.
In addition to our years of experience, we have access to databases and information that can be persuasive to present to Assessors in support of our position. Due to our access to such information, we can often save our clients appraisal and litigation expenses. While we have been successful in negotiating assessment reductions informally, there are instances where this is not possible.
In general, the taxpayer has the burden to prove that its property is over valued. In instances where the assessor simply will not budge during the negotiation process, it may become necessary to file an appeal to the county board or to tax court. If, after further negotiation, we are unable to negotiate a reduction, it will be necessary to engage a property appraiser on our client’s behalf. We make sure we recommend the right appraiser, who is credible and qualified as an expert in their field.
A property appraiser functions as the expert at trial to testify to a property’s valuation. In an appeal hearing or trial situation, the assessing jurisdiction offers its own expert testimony from an in-house appraiser or an independent appraiser. We prepare for trial by getting the expert reports from the assessing jurisdiction and examining all their data. We look at their comparable sale transactions and leases to determine whether or not their information is valid; we review deeds to determine whether or not the sale transaction is at arm’s length. We also attempt through discovery and depositions, if necessary, to obtain property leases to verify whether or not that information is accurate. Building this knowledge is very effective for use in the cross-examination of the taxing district’s Assessor or expert witness. All these efforts result in a well prepared case for the Taxpayer.
For more information on Appealing Property Tax Assessments In NJ, a complimentary consultation is your next best step. Call (973) 869-5550 to speak with an Attorney.
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