Thinking about appealing your property tax assessment? First, experts and tax officers say, study or consult on the rules, think it through again, then decide what to do. Mike and Betty Palermo of Webb Avenue in the Ocean Grove section of Neptune considered appealing their assessment early in 2004. Neptune had just gone through its first revaluation in 14 years, and the Palermos’ residence skyrocketed in taxable value from $135,800 to $448,000, or 330 percent, with their property taxes soaring accordingly.
“We hired a private assessor, for about $100, to come down and study our property, and to let us know how fair or unfair the township’s assessment was,” said Mike Palermo, 81. “He said if we sold the house, we would get at least what the township assessed it at. He said an appeal, therefore, would be disastrous. The tax increase is tough, but we don’t want to move. We did not appeal. We bit the bullet.”
Yehuda Shain, a Lakewood real estate broker, is also a state-certified tax assessor. He said he has assisted hundreds of people in deciding whether they should appeal.
“Most people who appeal do not succeed because they did not have the grounds to appeal,” Shain said. “Some people think that because their taxes are high, and they can not afford to pay, that they can appeal to the tax board. But such an argument carries no weight at all.”
Tax officials in Monmouth and Ocean counties agree that many people do not understand what an assessment appeal involves, and often appeal when, if they had done some preliminary research, they would not have wasted their time and money.
“Many appeals are filed that have no chance of succeeding, and the filing fee is lost,” said Matthew Clark, tax administrator for Monmouth County.
Filing fees, based on the value of the house, range from $5 to $150, officials said.
“It’s important for people to understand how the laws work,” said Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Tax Board. “There is information available from the county’s tax board office and on its Web site that can assist in this process and allow residents to make an informed decision.” Read full article in APP.