Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to extend to deadlines to New Jersey property tax bills and appeals. The ratification of assembly Bill 4157 moved the July 1 deadline for 2020 property tax assessment appeals to September 30 while allowing for some exceptions. The changes are retroactive to April 1. The governor hopes the bill will provide some economic relief to homeowners struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill extends the deadline to file New Jersey property tax appeals and allows county tax boards more time to make decisions on the assessment appeals. Murphy noted that the pandemic disrupted many routine processes for taxpayers. Extending deadlines eliminates the potential for more disruption and uncertainty from potential backlogs. Murphy said that clarity would reduce fiscal uncertainty for municipal governments dependent on the tax revenues. Even though the state is estimating a $10 billion tax revenue shortage, clarity will make it easier for municipal officials to adjust their budgets and find other sources of income.
Gordon M. Johnson (Democrat -Teaneck) and Raj Mukherji (Democrat-Jersey City) sponsored the bill to provide relief to homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. In a joint statement, the assembly members said extensions provided families
“an opportunity to generate savings on tax payments, particularly when many have lost income and become financially vulnerable.”
The additional time will ensure that property tax appeals are processed efficiently.
The NJ State Assembly passed the bill 79-0 on May 14. State Senators Paul Sarlo (Democrat – Wood-Ridge) and Joe Cryan (Democrat – Union) sponsored the companion bill, S.B. 2387, which the Senate passed 40-0. Sarlo stated that government offices were closed to visitors during the standard time for appeals between April 1 and May 1. Sarlo emphasized that this was a temporary change in response to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic created for all NJ residents. Cryan believes that a set date for appeals will allow property owners and government officials to manage finances in the ongoing crisis better. The extension may reduce a backlog of property tax appeals that some officials feared to reach into 2021.