NJ Legislature May Ask Taxpayers to Wait for Property Tax Refunds

I thought NJ property owners would be interested to hear about Assembly Bill No. 3056, introduced on 6/24/10, which provides a taxing district with a 3-year window in which to refund excess taxes to a taxpayer who successfully appeals a property's assessment.  Not only that, but A-3056 would allow the district to pay the refund in installments, and, with respect to successful appeals from at the tax board, eliminate payment of interest on refunded sums.  The law currently requires the refund to be paid in full within 60 days, with interest at 5% per year under N.J.S.A. 54:3-27.2 on refunds from a successful tax board appeal.

I think the Statement offered in support of the bill says it all:

"This bill requires that, in the event a taxpayer is successful in a real property tax appeal, the taxing district wherein the real property is located shall pay to the taxpayer any excess taxes paid, without interest, within three years of the date of the final judgment. Current law requires full payment of any excess taxes paid, including interest calculated at a 5% annual rate, within 60 days of the final judgment.

This legislation is intended to relieve municipalities of the burden of paying property tax refunds within a relatively short period of time. The sponsor notes that may [sic]municipal governments are experiencing greater fiscal pressures due to the current
economic conditions. This bill would allow municipalities to better manage the payment of property tax refunds by budgeting for them over a defined period of time."

TRANSLATION: even though you won your appeal, the government would like to hold onto your money for a while longer and skim the vig.  Another translation: the house always wins!  Interesting that there is no mention of the importance of the refund to the taxpayer.

Now, granted, it is early and this bill may not go anywhere.  Still, its mere introduction is a scary sign of the times and forecasts tough sledding for property tax appeals in the coming years.

We'll keep an eye on this bill for everybody.  

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