On February 4, Gov. Chris Christie signed S1213 (the "Act") into law, creating a pilot program that could substantially change the property tax assessment and appeal process in New Jersey. The Act's stated goal is to create a "more cost-effective and accurate process of real property assessment administration."
Under the provisions of the Act, no more than four counties may participate in the pilot program: no more than two in the two years following the passage of the Act, and no more than an additional two in the third and fourth years following the passage of the Act. The pilot program provides for the utilization, by the participating counties and municipalities within those counties, of the MOD-IV/CAMA property assessment software. The Act requires the county tax board of each participating county to provide the MOD-IV/CAMA software to each municipality that does not currently use the software and for the municipalities' assessors to use that software when assessing real property.
The Act also grants a participating county tax board the power to compel a municipality within its county to implement a revaluation or reassessment of all real property within the municipality. If the municipality fails to complete the compelled revaluation or reassessment in a timely manner, the county tax board may contract for the revaluation or reassessment at the municipality's cost.
Finally, for counties taking part in the pilot program, the Act revises the relevant statutory dates for the assessment and appeal of real property, in part, as follows: 1) Notification of Assessment postcards must be sent by the municipality to property owners by November 15 of the pretax year (previously February 1 of the tax year); and 2) appeals of assessments to the county tax board must be filed by January 15 of the tax year (previously April 1 of the tax year). It should be noted that the deadline for filing appeals of assessments that exceed $1 million made directly to the Tax Court remains April 1 of the tax year.
Day Pitney Estate Planning Update
Michael Guerriero and Charles Lenore wrote an article, "NJ Court: No Gross Income Tax On Pre-2009 Lottery Wins," for Law360. The article is about how the New Jersey Tax Court held that the state could not impose gross income tax on New Jersey lottery winnings from drawings that occurred prior to a 2009 law change.
Day Pitney Alert
Stephen Ziobrowski authored an article, "Massachusetts Moves to Impose Surtax on High-Income Taxpayers," for Trusts & Estates. The article describes the potential impact of a proposal being considered by lawmakers to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to impose a surtax on taxpayers with taxable incomes in excess of $1 million, and explores the potential for this development to have national implications.
On April 7, Chris Stracco will speak at the Society of Professional Assessors Annual New Jersey Seminar in East Rutherford, New Jersey. His presentation is titled "Recent Developments from the Tax Court." The Society of Professional Assessors was established in 1964 for the express purpose of sponsoring educational programs relating to the problems and techniques in the administration of assessment practices. It is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the advancement of professional standards, theory, and practice within the assessment profession.
Stephen Ziobrowski was quoted in an article, "How Bermudians can be exposed to US taxes," in The Royal Gazette. The article is a recap of an International Tax and Planning Seminar at an AFL Investment sponsored event held in May 2016, in which Ziobrowski participated.
Stephen Ziobrowski was quoted in an article, "10 states millionaires might be fleeing," in LifeHealthPro. In the article, Ziobrowski discusses how several states—including Massachusetts—are considering raising their taxes on their wealthiest residents. He says that the concern with taxing the wealthy is that it causes them to leave.
Stephen Ziobrowski was quoted in an article, "7 Tips For Simplifying Tax Writing," in Law360. The article outlines best practices for tax lawyers to draft contracts and court documents. "Tax law is a foreign language, so you have to do some translation if you’re putting it into written documents," said Ziobrowski in the article. "If you’re aiming for a particular tax result in a transaction, it won’t do any good to have all the right magic words on the document and then people don’t understand what they’re supposed to do."
Chris Stracco was quoted in an article,"Will Veto Spark Litigation Over Nonprofit Hospitals' Tax Status?" in New Jersey Law Journal. In the article, Stracco discusses Governor Chris Christie's veto of S3299 in connection to the controversial New Jersey Tax Court decision of AHS Hospital v. Morristown. Stracco says the decision in the case, in which Morristown Memorial Hospital lost its tax-exempt status because it had for-profit business attributes, is unique. Given that case's uniqueness, he expects that the ruling and Christie's veto of S3299 will not likely result in a flood of nonprofit hospitals being hit with tax bills and suits to challenge them.
Christopher Stracco was quoted in an article, “Should hospitals pay property taxes?” in the Asbury Park Press. The story is about a recent tax ruling in New Jersey, in which a judge ruled that a hospital should have been assessed property taxes like any for-profit business. In the article, Stracco explains that nonprofit hospitals have received tax-exempt status, but if they lease out space to a for-profit business they are required to pay taxes.