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Clinton Fountain Motel, L.P. v. Clinton Township

A-7489-97T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1999) (Unpublished)

TAXATION; ASSESSMENTS—Absent the timely furnishing of income information by a property owner, it is not unreasonable for an assessor to use the prior year’s property assessment.

A property owner failed to respond to a tax assessor’s request for information in accordance with chapter 91 of the Laws of 1979 concerning income derived from the property. As a result, its only defense to the assessment was that the tax assessor’s opinion was unreasonable. In such cases, a taxpayer has the burden of proof in a “reasonableness hearing.” Here, its argument was that “the assessment of its property was unreasonable as a matter of law because, lacking the information which chapter 91 requires a taxpayer to produce, the assessor placed the same value on [the property owner’s] property as the prior year’s assessment.” However, the Court found it was not intrinsically unreasonable for an assessor to assess a property at the same value as in the prior year. “Therefore, the assessor’s decision to carry forward the assessment from the prior year did not relieve plaintiff of the burden of proving the unreasonableness of that assessment.”


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