The annual right of passage for Anchorage property owners is the receipt in the mail of the Anchorage Board of Equalization green property appraisal card. If you do not agree with the property value as assessed you may appeal the valuation. You may appeal on the grounds that the appraisal is “unequal, excessive, improper or under evaluation.”
Unequal: This relates to evidence of comparable properties. The evidence generally is taken from either recent properties in your neighborhood or comparable properties in comparable neighborhoods. From the municipal website you can see the three homes that the Muni is considers comparable to your property. If you wish to contest their comparisons you should be able to articulate reasons that the comparison is unfair. You should attempt to identify other properties that you believe are more comparable to your property.
Excessive: You should review the underlying information upon which the Muni is basing their computations. This may go to either the underlying physical data of your property or the methodology of computation. Review the underlying data the Muni has recorded regarding your property. Consider whether they have the correct amounts of square footage for each of the homes components. The Muni may use a number of different measurement formulas, comparable sales, income approach, replacement costs are the most common. The income approach may result in higher than warranted valuations when the Muni doesn’t have copies of your current leases. They will assume your value based on current market rental rates. If you have older long term leases you can justify a reduction from the market rates as excessive. If you are in the midst of construction they may have valued the property as complete rather than only partially complete resulting in an excessive valuation.
Is the municipality separately assessing property taxes against common elements (e.g. the clubhouse) in the community If so, the assessments may be improper and the Association may need to take action to stop the assessments and prevent assessment in the future. The New Jersey Condominium Act (the ‘Condominium Act’) states, ‘all property taxes, special assessments and other charges imposed by any taxing authority shall be separately assessed against and collected on each unit as a single parcel, and not on the condominium property as a whole.’N.J.S.A. 46:8B-19. The term “unit” includes the share of the common elements appurtenant to it. N.J.S.A. 46:8B-3(o). Therefore, taxes may not be separately assessed against the common elements within the community because the assessment against each individual unit already includes a proportionate share of the value of the common elements. Glenpointe Associates v. Township of Teaneck, 10 N.J.Tax 288, 305 (Tax Ct. 1988). Also see, Olde Orchard Village Condo Apartments, Inc. v. Pequannock Township, 21 N.J.Tax 275 (Tax Ct. 2004).
Under Valuation: While this reason sounds like you want to have the value increased, it actually means you are currently attempting to value the property and think it should be lower. The Muni has very short deadlines for appealing and reviewing the tax valuations. For various reasons you may not be able to reach a determination of value before the deadline. This reason allows to timely appeal and still get your evidence in order to support the appeal.
Clayton Walker has been a tax attorney for twenty years. To get an appointment with him to address your tax issues, call 907-375-9226 to set an appointment.