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Rengifo v. Borough of Tinton Falls

A-0763-05T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2006) (Unpublished)

TAXATION; VALUATION — There is a presumption that a tax board’s assessment of a property is valid and the actual sale price of a property is not necessarily indicative of the property’s value.

A taxpayer purchased a newly constructed home. The tax assessor used comparable sales to determine the fair market value of the taxpayer’s home, and increased the property taxes because the previous assessed value was only for the land. The taxpayer appealed to the municipal tax board, arguing that the sale price of the home represented the true market value and the tax assessor should not have imposed an added assessment. The board affirmed the assessor’s added assessment, and the taxpayer appealed further.

The Tax Court affirmed the board’s decision, noting that there was a presumption that a board’s tax assessment is valid. It found that the taxpayer was seeking to use a sales price from one year earlier. Furthermore, the taxpayer failed to consider changes in the market to support using the sale price as the fair market value. The taxpayer appealed the Tax Court’s decision, but the Appellate Division affirmed the decision. It rejected the taxpayer’s argument that the actual sale price of the home should have been used to determine the assessed value. In contrast, the Court found that the tax assessor properly used comparable sales to obtain the true market value of the property. It noted that considering the taxpayer’s home was newly built and the earlier assessed value was based only on the land, the tax assessor appropriately increased the appraised valuation.

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