Middlesex County Board of Taxation
Tax Appeal Filing Packet
This information was developed to assist property owners in preparing for assessment appeal
hearings. This packet is designed to be an aid to property owners, but should not be considered
as all-inclusive. The general information provided is derived from New Jersey laws governing
property assessment appeals: N.J.S.A. 54:3 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 18:12A et seq. These
instructions are not intended to provide legal advice, property owners should rely on professional
help if necessary.
This Guide Contains the Following Page
1. Property Assessment Common Questions 1
2. What is a Comparable 2
3. Property Assessment Appeal Checklist 4
4. Common Misunderstandings 5
5. Chapter 123 Explanation 6
6. What to Expect at a Tax Appeal Hearing 7
7. Court Room Decorum 8
8. Appeal Filing Deadline 9
9. Appeal Form at a Glance 10
75 Bayard Street – 4
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 732-745-3350 Fax: 732-745-3767
This presentation was developed as an aid to the property owner, but it should not be considered
as an all-inclusive guide. More importantly, it is essential property owners understand they must
prove their assessment is unreasonable compared to a market value standard. Your current
assessment is by law assumed to be correct. You must overcome this presumption of correctness
in order to receive a change in your assessment.
How do I know if my assessment is fair?
The New Jersey Legislation adopted a formula known as Chapter 123 in 1973 to test the fairness
of an assessment. Once the Tax Board has determined the true market value of a property during
an appeal, they are required to automatically compare the true market value to the assessment. If
the ratio of the assessment to the true value exceeds the average ratio by 15% then the
assessment is automatically reduced to the common level. However, if the assessment falls
within the common level range, no adjustment will be made. If the assessment to true value ratio
falls below the common level, the Tax Board is obligated to increase the assessment to the
common level. This test assumes the property owner will supply sufficient evidence to the Tax
Board so they may determine the true market value of the property subject to the appeal. You
should inquire into your district’s average ratio before filing a tax appeal. This ratio changes
annually on October 1, for use in the subsequent tax year.
Where do I obtain and file my tax appeal?
Petitioners can call the office to have forms mailed, come into the office to pick up and print the
form directly from our web page. In order to be properly filed, they must be sent to the
Middlesex County Board of Taxation, along with the filing fee. Copies must also be sent to the
assessor, and the municipal clerk’s office (not County Clerk). DO NOT FAX YOUR
What will I need to prove my case?
You cannot appeal the taxes on your property since the taxes are the result of the local budget
process. You must pay the collector all taxes and municipal charges up to and including the first
quarter of the tax year. Remember, the burden is on you, the appellant, to prove your assessment
is unreasonable, excessive, or discriminatory. It is necessary for you to prove at the onset that
your assessment is in error. It is also necessary for you to prove a more appropriate market
The property owner must be persuasive and present credible evidence. Credible evidence is
evidence supported by fact, not assumptions or beliefs. Photographs of both the subject property
(the property subject to the appeal) and comparables are useful in illustrating your argument.
Factual evidence concerning special circumstances is necessary. For example, if the property
cannot be further developed for some reason, evidence must be provided.
age 1
What Are Comparables?
The most credible evidence is recent comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in
your neighborhood. Remember, if you are going to discuss comparable sales, not less than three
comparable sales shall be submitted to the Assessor, Clerk, and Middlesex County Tax Board,
not less than one week prior to the hearing if not included with the petition of appeal.
Where can I find Comparable sales and what does comparable mean?
Sales of all properties (SR-1A’s) are available for your review at the Middlesex County Tax
Board or your Municipal Tax Assessor’s Office. The SR-1A will indicate if the sale you are
intending to use is deemed useable or not. Remember, you will need to verify if the sales you
have selected are deemed usable.
Comparable means most of the characteristics of your property and the neighboring sale is
similar. You should be knowledgeable of the conditions of the sales you cite including financing
and be able to give a full description of the properties. Some of the characteristics making your
property comparable are: recent sale price, similar square footage of living area measured from
the exterior, similar lot size or acreage, proximity to your property, the same zoning use (e.g.
duplex in a duplex zone), and similar age and style of structure, etc.
What are Usable Sales?
You should be prepared to address the legitimacy of the transaction i.e. it should be one of
willing buyers and willing sellers who are not influenced by extraordinary issues (foreclosure,
bankruptcy, and transactions between related parties, etc.). there are 33 categories of non-usable
sales and you can verify if the sale is usable by checking the SR-1A’s. Additionally, just
because a sale is deemed non usable by one Assessor, it does not mean the County Board of
Taxation cannot consider it. However, please remember the burden of proof lies with the
petitioner, so non-arm’s length transactions would need supporting information in order to prove
it was in fact an arms-length transaction.
The comparable sales that you submit as evidence of true market value must support the
valuation of your property as of October 1
of the year prior to the year being appealed. Current
year sales will be suitable evidence for the next year’s appeals.
10/1/2016 9/30/2017
Page 2
When will I see the adjustment in my property taxes?
If there is a change to your assessment due to your appeal filing, the change will normally be
reflected in the November tax bill, (4th quarter). Please call your tax collector with any questions.
If you do not agree with the Tax Board judgment, you may file a compaint with the Tax Court of
New Jersey. The Tax Court filing process is located on the back of the judgment. The procedure at
the Tax Court level is in the form of a trial de novo (a new trial) and there is no consideration
given by the Court to anything that had been done at the Tax Board level.
Here are just a few examples of what to look for when searching for comparables:
Same style home
Year built
Within neighborhood
Square footage (remember, this is the outside measurement of the home)
Same/similar amenities
Here are just a few common errors
Comparing a Colonial to a ranch
Comparing a house built in 1924 to a home built in 2010
Using non-usable sales
Comparing a 1,000 square foot home to one that’s over 2,000 square feet.
Use sales that best reflect your home
All sales should be arms-length transactions. To determine if a sale meets this criteria, please
visit your local Tax Assessor office or the County Tax Board and ask to review the SR1A files.
Sales used as evidence that fall outside of the suggested time frame as outlined above or are
deemed to be non-arm’s length transactions may be disqualified as evidence.
Listing Of Non-Usable Codes Click Here
age 3
Property Assessment Appeal Checklist
File the appeal on or before April 1 of the current tax year, with service to the County Tax
Board, Municipal Assessor and the Municipal Clerk. In the taxing district where a municipal
revaluation or municipal wide reassessment has been implemented the appeal filing deadline
is May 1.
On April 1
, appeals must be physically received in our office by the close of business
(4:15PM) in order to be deemed received. Mail postmarked on the 1
of April and received
on a later date will be rejected.
Be sure all information is legible, completed; you have signed and dated the appeal.
It is highly recommended you provide a telephone number and email address should the need
to contact you arises.
When completing a filing, the original appeal form (white copy) along with the fee must be
delivered to the Tax Board. The fee must accompany the form in order for the appeal to be
processed. The appeal will not be considered “received” if the fee is not enclosed.
A separate appeal must be filed for each individual property you plan on appealing.
There is a charge to file your appeal and those fees can be found on the instructions of your
Tax Appeal packet. ONLY EXACT CHANGE (cash), Check or Money Order will be
While the sale of a property under appeal is evidential, the true market value should be
supported by a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) comparable sales.
Any Comparable Sales or Appraisal reports must be submitted at least 7 calendar days prior
to your hearing. Failure to meet this requirement may result in the dismissal of your appeal.
ENSURE your name, property address, Block & Lot, and contact number are included on the
For the comparable sales, appraisal reports (not filled out or filed on the original paperwork) ,
1 copy goes to the Tax Board, 1 to the Tax Assessor and 1 copy to the City Clerk. DO NOT
The comparable sales that you submit as evidence of true market value must support the
valuation of your property as of October 1
of the year prior to the year being appealed.
Current year sales will be suitable evidence for the next year’s appeals.
All sales should be arms-length transactions. To determine if a sale meets this criteria, please
visit your local Tax Assessor office or the County Tax Board and ask to review the SR1A
files. Sales used as evidence that fall outside of the suggested time frame as outlined above
or are deemed to be non-arm’s length transactions may be disqualified as evidence.
Please make sure all of your property taxes and municipal charges are paid up to the 1
quarter of the current year. Otherwise, your tax appeal can be dismissed for failure to pay
Page 4
Be Aware of Common Misunderstandings
Taxes CANNOT be appealed, as they are the result of the budget process.
Assessments of other properties are not acceptable as evidence of value.
You are appealing the TOTAL assessment. The land and improvement components cannot
be individually appealed.
There is a presumption of correctness in regard to the present assessment. The property
owner appealing the assessment must, through the presentation of sufficient evidence of true
market value, overcome this presumption to achieve a change in the assessment (N.J.S.A.
54:4-23 case notes) Refer to Chapter 123 interactive market value calculation worksheet.
It is imperative to verify the sales you will be using as evidence, and that the sale was
between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Non-usable sales are considered distressed
sales, and are not reflective of the market. The State of New Jersey has 33 classifications of
Non Usable Sales, which have a notation of “NU” followed by a number. Please use this
link for a listing of non-usable codes and what they mean. Non-usable codes
N.J.S.A. 45:14f-21 ( c ) very specifically provides:
No person other than a State licensed real estate appraiser, a State real estate appraiser or a
person who assists in the preparation of an appraisal under the direct supervision of a State
licensed or certified appraiser shall perform or offer to perform an appraisal assignment in
regard to real estate located in this State including, but not limited to, any transaction
involving a third party, person, government or quasi-government body, court, quasi-judicial
body or financial institution.
**PLEASE NOTE Real Estate Agents are not allowed to represent a petitioner for a tax appeal.
Real estate agents may appear as a fact witness and discuss how they marketed the property ,
listing price, offers, but may not offer an opinion of value as they are not licensed real estate
appraisers. Additionally, the real estate agent must have completed an inspection of the property
in order to be able to testify.
If you’re a business entity other than a sole proprietor(LLC, LLP, LP, Corporation,
etc.) you must be represented by an Attorney-at-Law. It is imperative that your attorney
be present at the hearing. Failure to do so will result in the dismissal of your appeal. If your
annual property taxes are less than $25,000 you do not need an attorney present.
If a settlement is agreed upon between you and the assessor, there is no need to attend the
hearing. Please make sure to obtain a copy of your agreement. BUT, if you choose to
reject the Assessor’s offer, please be aware once your Appeal hearing commences, that offer
is no longer on the table.
Page 5
Chapter 123 known as “The Corridor”
The purpose of the Tax Appeal process is to determine if your property is being fairly assessed.
The Tax Board examines this by following the formula established by the legislature in 1973
known as Chapter 123.
The goal of Chapter 123 is to verify that the relationship between your current total assessment
and your indicated determination of true market value is within the acceptable range as outlined
in Chapter 123.
In most cases your total assessed value does not reflect true market value. Hence, in order to
determine what the true market value of your home is, the State of NJ Division of Taxation
studies all sales within your municipality during what is called a sampling period. They then
conduct a study to calculate what the average assessed to market value ratio is. After compiling
their study, the state comes up with an average assessed to market value ratio for the entire
municipality. This is also known as the Common Level Ratio or director’s ratio.
In addition to the Common Level Ratio (CLR) there are 2 other ratios known as the Lower and
Upper Limit. These ratios help establish a value range 15% above and 15% below the Common
Level Ratio. Should you prove a market value outside this value range your assessment would
then be reduced or increased by applying the new market value, as determined by the Tax Board,
and multiplying it by the Common Level Ratio to ensure uniformity.
Chapter 123 Interactive Page
To determine your market value and ranges, please use our Chapter 123 Interactive Page
Click Here
age 6
What To Expect At A Property Assessment Appeal Hearing
The assessment appeal process provides a check and balance procedure in the overall
assessment process. It aids in furthering the statutory directive of assessing “according to the
same standard of practice”. This guide has been created to assist you. It is recommended
that you treat the review of its contents as the first step in that process. Should you decide to
appeal, the material below provides you with what to expect relating to a property assessment
appeal hearing.
The Tax Board requires that evidence in support of the appeal must be submitted no later
than (7) calendar days prior to the hearing (if this was not included with your original appeal
of petition filing), however, we strongly suggest that you send this in a.s.a.p. so that all
parties have ample time to review. Please send (1) copy to the Board, (1) copy to the
assessor, and (1) copy to the municipal clerk. DO NOT SEND ALL (3) copies to the Tax
Board Office. Please do not fax your evidence to the Tax Board Office.
Hearings are held throughout the summer months, starting in May and ending in June.
When your property is called you will be asked to come forward where you will be sworn-in
prior to providing testimony.
You will then be asked to “state the reasons for your appeal” and “your opinion of value as of
October 1
of the pretax year”, based on the evidence exchanged (7) days prior to the
Next the municipality will have the opportunity to cross-examine your or your
representative’s presentation of evidence.
Based on your testimony, the municipality will either rest in its assessment or present its
evidence. If the municipality stands on its assessment, it is their opinion that you have not
met the burden of proof in your presentation. If the town does present evidence, then you
will have the opportunity to cross-examine their evidence after they are done.
Thereafter, the Tax Board Commissioner may request additional information or clarification
of facts presented. This will complete the hearing and a judgment, reflecting the Tax Board’s
decision on the matter, will be forthcoming.”
To ensure the receipt of testimony, during the hearing, all questions and answers must be
directed to the Tax Board Commissioner and the audience is asked to remain courteous and
quiet while all testimony is being delivered.
Please note that it is extremely difficult to know the exact time your case will be called, so
please make arrangements accordingly.
*Please note that the Middlesex County Tax Board does not run proceedings everyday as a
municipal or superior court would. Therefore, adjournment requests are rarely granted and only
for extreme circumstances. Documentary proof may be requested when asking for an
adjournment. Any adjournment inquiries must be made through the Middlesex County Tax
Board Administrator. If there is a change made to your original hearing date, your
evidence is still due 7 days prior to the original hearing date (Tax Board Office, Municipal
Assessor and Municipal Clerk to receive evidence). NO EXCEPTIONS
Page 7
Court Room Decorum
Appeal Hearings begin in May and run throughout the summer, starting at 9am.
Due to the high volume of cases being heard, please plan your day accordingly, as we cannot
give an exact time as to when your case will be heard.
All questions, answers and discussion are to be directed solely to the Commissioner who is
hearing the case. Side discussions by any party in interest or members of the audience are
not proper.
Audience comments are not acceptable conduct. Courtesy and decorum during the
proceedings is an absolute must.
Please dress comfortably, however, the following are not allowed in the courtroom:
Tee Shirts
Flip Flops
Food & Beverage
At the hearing, you will be giving testimony before a Commissioner. Please have all
your evidence with you at that time.
Please have cell phones on vibrate
No food or beverages are permitted within the hearing room.
age 8
Appeal Filing Deadline
The deadline for filing tax appeals is April 1
. If the last day for filing an appeal falls on a
Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the last day shall be extended to the first succeeding
business day.
All Tax Appeals must be received not merely POSTMARKED no later than 4:15 PM
on April 1
. Appeal applications CANNOT be faxed.
All Tax Appeals must be physically at the Board Office no later than 4:15 PM on
April 1
Postmarked dates are not received dates by the Tax Board. Received is when the Tax
Board has the documentation in the office, along with the filing fee (the filing fee
must accompany the appeal application or otherwise the appeal cannot be
filed/processed and is not considered received). The postmarked date is when the item
was mailed. This is not the date the Tax Board relies on.
It is the petitioner’s responsibility to ensure that any appeal applications meet the
appeal filing deadline. The Tax Board is not responsible for any shipping/carrier
service the petitioner is using. Nothing can be left anywhere else in the County
Administration Building to be considered timely filed.
Anything received by the Tax Board after the April 1
, 4:15 PM filing deadline, will
be stamped with the date the Tax Board received, and will be returned, along with a
judgment stating untimely filed.
Reassessed Municipalities
Piscataway Township R
eassessment for Tax Year 2018
In a revalued/reassessed municipality, the filing deadline is May 1
, 4:15 PM.
Again, the appeal must be physically received by the Board office to be considered
timely filed. Anything received after the deadline will be considered untimely filed,
will be stamped with the date the Tax Board received, and will be returned, along
with a judgment stating untimely filed.
Page 9
Form A-1 (3-15) PETITION OF APPEAL Appeal Number
Tax Year ______ Propert
y Class
Last Name, First Name
MAILING ADDRESS ___________________________________________ Dayt
No. : ( )
____________________________________________________________ E-mail Address ___________________________________
BLOCK LOT QUALIFIER Lot Size _____________________________
MUNICIPALITY Property Street Address / Location
Name, address and telephone number of person or attorney to be notified of hearing date and judgment:
Land $ Land $
Bldg/Improvement $ Bldg/Improvement $
Abatement (If any) $ Abatement (If any) $
Total $
Total $
Purchase Price $ Date of Purchase Tax Court Pending: YES NO
REASON FOR APPEAL: ___________________________________________________________ __________________
Lot/Qualifier Property Street Address / Location Sale Price Sale/Deed Date
1. $
2. $
3. $
4. $
5. $
SECTION III APPEAL FOR DENIAL OF: (See Instruction #4, “Filing Fees”)
Attach Copy of Denial Notice for Section III Deductions, Classifications and Exemptions
Veteran's Property Tax Deduction for Veteran or Surviving
Spouse or Surviving Civil Union Partner or Surviving
Domestic Partner of Veteran/Serviceperson
Senior Citizen/Disabled Person Property Tax Deduction for
Senior Citizen/Disabled Person or Surviving Spouse or
Surviving Civil Union Partner of Senior Citizen/Disabled Person
100% Disabled Veteran Exemption for 100 % Disabled
Veteran or Surviving Spouse or Surviving Civil Union
Partner or Surviving Domestic Partner of 100%
Disabled Veteran
Farmland Assessment Classification
Abatement or Exemption - Religious, Charitable, etc.
WHEREFORE, Petitioner seeks judgment reducing/increasing (circle one) the said assessment(s) to the correct assessable value
of the said property and/or granting the requested deduction, credit, Farmland Assessment classification, exemption or
abatement. Petitioner certifies that a copy of this appeal (and attachments, if any) has been served upon the Assessor and Clerk
of the municipality where this property is located. Petitioner certifies that the foregoing statement is true and is aware that if the
foregoing statement is willfully false, he/she is subject to punishment.
______________ _______________________________________________
Date Original Signature of Petitioner or Attorney for Petitioner
This form is prescribed by the Director, Division of Taxation, as required by law, and may not be altered without the approval of the Director.
Reproduction of form is permitted provided it is the same content and format.
Closing Date
Signature of person filing appeal
Name that appears on assessment card
assessment card
City where property is located
address of property being appealed
Person or attorney (not same as above) to receive correspondence pertaining to appeal.
assessment card
assessment card
Suggested assessment
assessment card
Price paid
Current mailing address
contact # required
where you want the mail to go
Why your are filing an appeal. Reminder that taxes cannot be appealed.