20,033 Area Homeowners Appeal Taxes

For months, Kenny Vu played phone tag with real estate appraisers, squinted at charts listing property valuations for his neighborhood and pounded figures into his calculator before composing spreadsheets. Believing Middletown overvalued his property when it conducted a revaluation in 2008, the computer software tester said he had no choice but to file an appeal this year with the Monmouth County Board of Taxation. “It’s outrageous,” said Vu, 66, who notes that the sales used to set his property’s value occurred at the height of this decade’s real estate boom. “It would be an extreme hardship for me to pay twice as much in taxes.” Vu filed one of the 20,000 tax appeals in Monmouth and Ocean counties this year, a 230 percent increase from 2008, when only 6,067 were filed, county officials said. A slumping economy and a slew of revaluations and reassessments are a couple of the likely reasons so many property owners decided to challenge their valuations, said L. Ozzie Vituscka, the tax administrator in Ocean County, which received about 14,000 appeals, a record. “I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Vituscka said. “I think a lot of people are looking at what they’re going to pay in taxes and figure it’s worth a try.” Click here for the full article from the App.

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