In order for an assessment to be deemed excessive or discriminatory, a taxpayer must prove that an assessment does not fairly represent one of two standards:
All assessments must represent 100% of true market value as of the previous October 1, in a year following a revaluation or reassessment.
In a non-revaluation or non-reassessment year, The assessment must exceed the common level range determined for your municipality.
The October 1 pretax date is called the annual “assessment date.”
All evidence submitted in a tax appeal should precede the assessment date, especially property sales used as comparable.
To understand the common level range you must consider what happens following a revaluation.
Once a revaluation is completed, factors such as inflation, appreciation and depreciation cause property values to increase or decrease at varying rates. Other factors may also contribute to changes in property values. Obviously, if assessments are not adjusted annually, a deviation from 100% of true market value may occur.
The New Jersey State Division of Taxation, with the assistance of local assessors, annually conducts a fiscal year sales survey, investigating property transfers that occurred in your community. This sales data is compared individually to corresponding assessments to determine an average level of assessment in a municipality. An average ratio, sometimes referred to as the Director’s ratio, is developed to represent the assessment level in every community.
In any year, except the year in which a revaluation or reassessment is implemented, the common level of assessment is the average ratio of the district in which your property is situated, and is used by the Tax Board to determine the fairness of your assessment.
In Morris County, in a revaluation or reassessment year, the common level is 100% and is used by the Morris County Board of Taxation to determine the fairness of your assessment.