New Jersey State Senate Bill S2836 seeks to amend, among other things, a state-wide filing deadline for county board real estate tax appeals from April 1st (or May 1st for revalued reassessment municipalities) to January 15th of each tax year. While the Legislation also amends the date of the mandatory notification of assessment postcards from February 1st to November 15th of the pre-tax year, the Bill more importantly revises the process of notifying taxpayers of the current year assessment by no longer requiring notification by mail to each taxpayer of the year’s tax assessment. Rather, the amendment permits notification of all property taxpayers by posting information on the municipality’s internet website. Only if the municipality does not have a website or if the taxpayer makes a written request to the Tax Assessor must the Assessor provide notice of the new assessment by mail to the taxpayer by the amended date of November 15th.
The effect of the seemingly minor revisions concerning real property assessment practices will have a decidedly negative impact on smaller commercial and residential taxpayers asserting their constitutional right to challenge their assessments imposed by a local taxing authority. The practical impact of changing the filing deadline to January 15th will limit the attention of taxpayers to the upcoming filing deadline due to the intervening Holiday Season. More importantly, however, the Bill’s proposal to allow posting of assessments on the municipality website rather than individual mailing to taxpayers may effectively eliminate the notice requirement for those taxpayers without access to computers or the internet. Due to the Bill’s potential effect of limiting access to the Courts of the taxpayers with the least resources to contest their assessment, the proposed Bill must be opposed and rejected.