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Just when you thought you understood your property tax assessment… it’s all about to change. 

At its August 4th meeting, Hopewell Borough selected Certified Valuations, Inc. of Randolph  (one of only ten firms approved by the State to perform the task) to conduct the revaluation of all properties in the municipality. By statute, every piece of land and every building is assessed as of October 1 to be used for tax purposes for the following year. In most years, your assessment remains unchanged – but the effective or “equalized” value varies each year as property values change the “equalization” or “Director’s” ratio (for some prior explanations on this process – check out MercerMe’s prior reports on assessments and how school tax applications are calculated).

In a reval year, assessments are pegged at 100% true market value of your property – and no ratio is applied. Certified Valuations, Inc. as the town’s contractor will now begin the process of reviewing all of the sales, visiting properties and appraising the value of everything in the Borough in time for the 2015 tax year. 

While the exact process has yet to be announced by the Borough and its appraisers, local taxpayers should expect an introduction letter explaining the process and detailed information on the Borough’s and the contractor’s websites in the coming months.  Once the process is complete, notices of the assessments will be mailed by early 2015 at the latest.  While residents and property owners will likely have an opportunity to discuss the proposed values with the appraisers informally prior to the figures being finalized, ultimately residents who disagree with the new assessments will be able to file a tax appeal in 2015 to challenge the figures (in revaluation years the deadline would be May 1 – as opposed to the April 1 deadline when there is no revaluation or reassessment).

While the author of this article is an attorney (and a tax appeals attorney to boot) the views expressed in this article are solely intended for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. For legal advice or representation in connection with real estate tax appeals, I urge you to consult with an attorney.

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