- The Freeze Act comes into play where there has been a reduction in a local property tax assessment by judgment after trial or by way of a settlement with the tax assessor.
- The resulting judgment prohibits a municipality from raising taxes for the next two subsequent tax years, as long as there has been no change in the property value.
- This blog explains generally how the Freeze Act works.
Understanding the Freeze Act
The intent of the Freeze Act is to halt a disgruntled local tax assessor from retaliating against a property owner because either a county tax board or state tax court judgment reduced the assessed value of real estate property for tax purposes. For example, if a municipal tax appeal results in a NJ tax court or a county tax board judgment, the property valuation is frozen for the next two years, again assuming no changes in value to the property.
The specific Freeze Act law is found in N.J.S.A. 54:51A-8. The statute, in full, states:
Conclusiveness of judgment, changes in value, effect of revaluation program. Where a judgment has been rendered by the Tax Court involving real property, the judgment shall be conclusive and binding upon the municipal assessor and the taxing district, parties to the proceeding for the assessment year and for the next two assessment years succeeding the assessment year covered by the final judgment, except as to changes in the value of the property occurring after the assessment date.
If a tax court finds that the defiant local tax assessor did not act reasonably by either increasing the assessment or often judgment failed to reflect the judgment of the tax records, the tax court can also award a tax-payer reasonable counsel fees, appraisal costs and other costs which to be paid by the taxing district.
Tax-Payer Can Still Appeal
The Freeze Act does not bar a property owner from seeking a further challenge to its municipal property taxes, below the Freeze Act value of the property value declines further.
To discuss your NJ real estate matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Real Estate Attorney