For New Jersey property tax purposes, the Morris County Board of Taxation’s 2011 Equalization Table did not violate state law or the Uniformity Clause of the New Jersey Constitution.
In promulgating the County Equalization Table, the board adopted the New Jersey Director of Taxation’s Equalization Table, which calculated the average ratio of assessed value to true value of real property in every taxing district in the state. The township argued that the use of averaging in a declining market was unconstitutional and statutorily prohibited. However, the township failed to offer any calculation or testimony regarding what impact there would be to it if the board utilized averaging only for those municipalities that were not experiencing declining markets. Accordingly, it could not be found that the township’s average ratio, as promulgated by the board, resulted in a dramatically or substantially excessive share of the county tax burden.
The township’s argument that the County Equalization Table violated the Uniformity Clause of the New Jersey Constitution also was rejected. Pursuant to case law, applying averaging to all municipalities except those experiencing a market decline would constitute unequal and disparate treatment.
The township also contended that, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-2.25 and -2.26, “100% of the standard value” means true market value and is equivalent to equalized true value. Accordingly, the township argued that N.J.S.A. 54:4-2.25 and -2.26 prohibited the board from apportioning the township’s share of county taxes based on a particular average ratio since the ratio was based on an average true value in excess of the township’s equalized true value. However, the statutes apply to county boards of taxation and not to the promulgation of county equalization tables. Furthermore, pursuant to case law, equalized true value is not equal to true market value.
Township of Jefferson v. Morris County Board of Taxation, New Jersey Tax Court, No. 001746-2011, September 8, 2011, ¶401-604
Explanations at ¶20-720