Skip to main content



SP One Meadowlands Plaza, LLC v. Borough of East Rutherford

A-2032-09T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2010) (Unpublished)

TAXATION —An appellate court’s review of a Tax Court’s findings is limited to whether such findings were supported by substantial credible evidence.

A Tax Court trial in a challenge to a taxpayer’s property tax assessment consisted of testimony from an expert commercial real estate appraiser for each of the municipality and the property owner. Both used the income capitalization approach to reach their valuations. The two experts arrived at only slightly different rentable floor areas and fair market rentals. However, they significantly disagreed as to fair market value of the taxpayer’s property because the municipality’s expert considered comparable sales as well as actual sales of the taxpayer’s property in his calculation, while the taxpayer’s expert did not. The Tax Court gave little weight to the comparable sales approach. Additionally, it gave little weight to prior sales of the subject property, because it could not determine whether such sales were bona fide.

The Tax Court made an independent assessment of the property and determined that the ratio of the assessed value of the property to its true value was 0.7653, exceeding 0.7536, the upper limit of the common level range for the municipality in a non-revaluation year. It then determined the proper assessment by multiplying the true value of the property by the average ratio for the municipality.

On appeal, the municipality argued that, in light of the closeness between the upper limit of the common level range and the ratio for the property as found by Tax Court, reversible error was committed when the Tax Court adopted only the income approach to value and declined to consider actual sales or comparable sales. The Appellate Division deferred to the Tax Court’s calculation, finding that the lower court adequately considered the alternate valuation methods. The Court found that the municipality did not provide the Tax Court with sufficient details concerning the circumstances of the actual sales of the property for use in its calculations. Because an appellate court’s review of a Tax Court’s findings is limited to whether such findings were supported by substantial credible evidence, the Court deferred to the Tax Court’s valuation.


MEISLIK & MEISLIK
66 Park Street • Montclair, New Jersey 07042
tel: 973-783-3000 • fax: 973-744-5757 • info@meislik.com