In New Jersey, there is a state law that says that property needs to be assessed 100% of market value every 10 years. This is a large and difficult and expensive undertaking for the towns/townships, so they tend to put it off until the state insists. Then, they form a committee, and drag it out another couple of years or so. For example, the town I live in has not re-assessed for over 15 years.
If you buy a house through an arm's length transaction for less than the assessed value, then you may be eligible to apply for a tax appeal. The tax appeal does not change the tax rate, but seeks to change the assessed value. I recommend that you use a lawyer to file the paperwork. It must be filed between January 1st of 2011 and April of 2011. In order to file, you must be able to demonstrate that the real value of the property is 15% less than the assessed value.
If you would like to contact me directly, I can review that whole tax appeal process and how it works. I've become an expert through experience.
Finally, in general, the eastern part of Morris County is taxed lower than the western part. Morristown would be in the eastern part. On the other hand, townships surrounding Morris Township tend to have lower taxes than Morristown (Morris Township, Hanover Township, East Hanover, and so on.) On the other hand, Morristown is poised to increase in value faster than some of the more suburban townships.
I'll be happy to speak with you!
Local residents of the Town and the Township share the cost of the schools, which for Morristown residents is more than half their tax bill.
The county taxes are seperate for each town in the county based on their assessed valuations.
The local portion covers all other services such as police ,fire etc.
Town services also include servicing the non-tax paying facilities in Town such as the hospital, the county court facilities not covered by the sheriffs office, the churches and all those non-profit groups headquartered in Morristown such as Family Service, Visiting Nurse and Private Schools and social clubs. Everytime they expand, they take another tax paying property off the tax rolls and the remaining property owners make up the difference. As the county grew, the groups serving county residents expanded also but since they are located in Morristown, it is the local community that provides their services at the local taxpayers expense.
Another problem in an economic downturn, is that commercial properties are taxed according to the their income. When their income goes down they can get their taxes reduced. Homeowners are taxed according to the value of the land and buildings. In a small town, land is scarce and therefore more valuable.
The taxes for the school portion of the tax is not based on the number of students but the value of the tax base. As office buildings in the Township were vacated, their values went down. Morristown's values have gone up with the addition of more new construction downtown, therefore even they they have fewer children in the system, their share of the school tax has gone up.
So Morristown taxpayers are forced to pay a premium to live there. It may not be fair but I still would not want to live anyplace else. Morristown seems to attrack the best people, its population is more diverse, caring, creative and friendlier than anyplace else in the area. Its truly a special place.
Mary is correct in the ten year assessment period. Because of that towns tend to raise rates to compensate for the time period and to pay for services.
However, there are some communities that go with the sale price (Morristown not one of them)
Moristown is one of the higher taxed communities in Morris County. (Mountain Lakes may be the highest) It is a city with city costs. But you are also paying for the true convenience of Morristown. Surrounding towns are less taxed.
Buying a home thfor less than assessed valued may give rise o lower taxes if you decide to go through the ardruous procedures of a tax appeal. (appraisals, town applications, appeals to the tax board, etc.) However, beware that if the value you come up with i less than 15% of assess valued, you will probably not win. Most assessments for real estate tax purposes are based on a 30% swing in value (15 above - 15 below)
Now with the 2% tax cap coming into play in NJ, all communities will be struggling to come up with alternatives to pay for their services, including combining them with neighboring. As you may knoe, Morristown High School services Morris Plains and Morris Township, as well as Harding and now there was discussion in using some other combined services. All this will help keep taxes leveled. (We hope)
For very good info. visit the site listed below.
Good luck and if you need assistance in locating property in Morris County please give me a call.
Jeffrey David Halpern