With the housing market continuing to struggle, a record number of Jersey homeowners are expected to file property tax appeals this year.


Bill Dressel, the Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says "people are basically responding to a down real estate market."

He points out many local governments are more apt to settle - rather than fighting the appeals, "because the total cost of defending the appeal is borne by the municipality...if there's a successful property tax appeal, the town has to absorb the total cost of that and also pay for the legal costs."

Dressel adds this is creating a big problem for many towns, because in New Jersey, unlike other states, the only source of revenue available to towns to pay for the broad spectrum of programs and services is the property tax, "so if you're going to have a reduction in the amount of dollars you're bringing in to the municipal coffers, that's going to have an impact."

The result, he says, is even if your property tax appeal is approved, you might not wind up paying less taxes.

"If you have a successful property tax appeal" says Dressel, "what may happen in the recalculation of the municipal value that is struck by the County boards of taxation - is there may very well be an increase in rate."

"If there are a lot successful property tax appeals in a town" he says, "you may have to increase the rate in order to make up the loss of revenue -- other states have local options taxes - but we only have the property tax, so there's not a lot of room here to be able to make up losses when you have an uptick in your property tax appeals…I mean you can't get blood from a turnip- I mean it's a very difficult situation."