A new report from the state judiciary shows New Jersey’s backlog of property tax appeals is still growing, but stakeholders are optimistic about the court’s ability to clear cases going forward.
Daniel Zazzali, a property taxation attorney with Newark-based McCarter & English said, “this is definitely moving forward and moving forward on a good pace” — potentially leading to an uptick in the number of cases cleared.
“I think that we can see a nice increase in dispositions at the end of 2015. And with filings not going up substantially — maybe even going down — that’s going to help with the backlog of cases.”
The court noted that the number of new filings decreased from the 2012-2013 calendar year — from 25,364 to 18,962 — adding that it expects a continued decline “for a variety of reasons.” The report points to “improvements in the national economy” that are having a positive effect on values for some types of real estate, adding that appeals are also declining to county boards of taxation.
But Zazzali cautions that the 2012-2013 volume may have been artificially inflated by appeals tied to Hurricane Sandy. The report shows new filings in the 2013-2014 court year still topped the total from the same period two years earlier — before Sandy.
“I think it … just went back to the normal number of appeals that have been filed, and if you just take out 2013, I think it’s moving in a direction where it’s stabilized into the 18,000 to 19,000 range of appeals,” he said. “And I don’t see it dropping off substantially.