The Field Assistance and Appraisal Unit provides direct assistance to 566 municipal tax assessors' offices and 21 county tax boards in solving everyday problems.
The sections of responsibility include assessment/sales ratio for equalization for the promulgation of the Director's Table of Equalized Valuations; verification of the county equalization tables and abstracts of ratables for the development of the State Equalization Table and State Abstract of Ratables and development of statistical data to analyze the assessment function; maintenance and administration of the NJ Property Tax System - MOD IV and certification of data centers running the software; maintenance of the NJ Appraisal Manual for assessors and assistance to local tax assessors on appraisal issues; audit and investigations relating to local property matters. The approval of Tax Maps and assessment, billing and collection of Railroad Property tax is conducted by this unit. Additionally this section appraises Real Property for the Transfer Inheritance Tax Section.
History of Local Property Tax
The New Jersey State Constitution adopted in 1947 provides that "property shall be assessed for taxation under general law and by uniform rules. All real property assessed and taxed locally or by the State for allotment and payment of taxing districts shall be assessed according to the same standard of value, except as otherwise permitted herein, and such property shall be taxed at the general tax rate of the taxing district in which the property is situated, for the use of such taxing district" (Article VIII, Section I). Currently farmland and housing created in compliance with COAH are the exceptions to the same standard of value for real property.
A long period of legislative history has developed numerous exemptions and various special property tax treatments. Generally exempt are government-owned property, and property of religious, educational, charitable and various types of nonprofit organizations. In addition, qualified veterans and disabled persons, senior citizens and their surviving spouses are permitted tax deductions of $250 and $250, respectively.
Description of Tax:
An ad valorem tax --
In each municipality the sum of the value of taxable real property and the value of locally assessed business personal property is the ratable base that is used to support local property tax. The real property is valued using the market value (or a percentage thereof) as the standard of value.
A local tax --
The local property tax is a residual tax that supports the four local governmental units, the county, municipality, school district and special district. No part of it is used for support of State government.
Amount of Tax (a residual tax) --
Each governmental unit develops a budget, deducts from the budgeted needs all anticipated revenue and the remaining amount (residual) is raised by property tax. After each budget is approved, certified, and transmitted to the county board of taxation, a tax rate is calculated. Each municipality has a general tax rate that is the sum of several component rates. A municipal general tax rate includes all the applicable rate components from three local governmental units; the county, municipal and school budget. A municipality may also have one or more special district tax rates. Special district tax rates are not a component of the general tax rate. They are calculated and reported separately.
Property assessment (the tax base) --
All taxable property is assessed (valued for taxation) by local assessors in each municipality. Assessments are expressed in terms of "taxable value."
The local property tax rate is determined each year by the County Board of Taxation for each municipality by relating the total amount of tax levy to the total of all assessed valuations taxable. Expressed in $1 per $100 of taxable assessed value, the tax rate is a multiplier for use in determining the amount of tax levied upon each property.
General Tax Rates by County and Municipality
Disposition of Revenues --
This tax is assessed and collected locally by the taxing districts for support of county and municipal governments and local school district purposes.
List of New Jersey's 21 County Boards of Taxation
Table of Equalized Valuations
Each year the Division publishes a Table of Equalized Valuations showing the average ratio or assessed value to true value of real estate in each of the 566 local taxing districts. This table is certified to the State Commissioner of Education pursuant to Chapter 86, Laws of 1954 (N.J.S.A.54:1-35.1) for use in calculating and distributing State School aid. Equalized valuations are also the basis for apportioning county taxes among local taxing districts and for apportioning the tax cost for a large number of regional school districts among component taxing districts. Equalized valuations are also the basis for measuring debt limits for local governmental units.
The ratio of assessed valuation to sales price is calculated for each usable sale and all are classified into four groups (vacant land, residential, farm, other i.e. commercial, industrial and apartments). An overall district average weighted ratio is calculated for all classes as a weighted average of separate ratios calculated for each class. This district weighted ratio is applied against assessed value of the district to determine aggregate "true value."
"True value is averaged with true value for the preceding year after adjustment for "added and omitted assessments."
This averaging has the two-way advantage of avoiding abrupt changes in ratio from year to year and avoiding undue influence of inadequate samples of sales for a single year.
Table of Equalized Valuations
Chapter 123, Upper and Lower Limits of Assessment
Chapter 123, Laws of 1973, as amended by Chapter 51, P.L. 1979 concerns tax appeals and establishes "common level ranges" for use on appeals in cases of alleged discrimination. The amendment changed the definition of average ratio from an unweighted, unclassified arithmetic average to the average ratio as determined by the Director for State School Aid.
The "common level range"
for each district is defined by taking 15% of the ratio and deducting from the ratio for the lower limit and adding to the ratio for the upper limit.
Chapter 123 Assessment Limits
Sales Categorization of Class 4 Property
This publication lists sales of Class 4 (Commercial, Industrial and Apartments) Property both usable and non-usable sales within the last sampling period used for the Director's Table of Equalized Valuations.
Sales Categorization of Class 4 Property
Real Property Appraisal Manual for New Jersey Assessors
The Real Property Appraisal Manual for New Jersey Assessors (Vol. I and II) is one of the tools used by assessors in the appraisal process to determine assessed value.
The Real Property Appraisal Manual
All Tax Maps in the State are reviewed and approved as to form and content in accordance to Regulations and Standards with Authority under N.J.S.A. 54:1-15 and 54:50-1 by this unit. All Municipalities considering a revaluation must have an up to date tax map approved before entering into a revaluation contract.
Tax Map Regulations, Standards, and Digital Tax Maps