New Jersey employs an "ad valorum" system of property taxation meaning that properties are taxed "according to value". The value in question is "Market Value" which is the price that can be obtained on the open market in a sale between unrelated parties, which are not being compelled to sell or buy. Accordingly, properties are assessed based on their market value. Any factors that can influence market value are considered in the assessment. This includes (but is not limited to), the location and size of the property; as well as the age, size and condition of the building.
There is no statutory schedule for assessing or reassessing properties in New Jersey. County Boards of Taxation can order reassessments or revaluations whenever their analysis of various statistical measures and other factors indicate the need for same.
Although there is no provision, or need, to update the entire assessment list every year, there is a need to keep the list current in terms of changes to individual properties. Changes that can affect assessed values include additions and renovations, new construction, subdivisions, lot consolidations, demolitions and/or severe physical damages. Properties that undergo physical change are inspected and reassessed to reflect said changes.
Although assessed values may remain unchanged over an extended time period, tax rates change on an annual basis to meet the budgetary requirements of the School Board, Municipal Government and County Government.
The amount one pays in taxes cannot be challenged, however, the assessed value of the property may be challenged through the filing of a tax appeal. Appeals are legal actions which must be filed with the County Board of Taxation or Tax Court between February 1 and April 1 of the year in question. Please note that these are adverserial proceedings where the Township is named as a defendant. Petitioners filing an appeal are entitled to a hearing at the County Tax Board or trial at the Tax Court and are responsible for the preparation, prosecution and management of their own case. Since it represents a clear conflict of interest, the Township is under no obligation to assist, direct or facilitate property owners intent on filing these actions.