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University Cottage Club of Princeton v. Princeton Bor.

2011 WL 6997259 (N.J. Tax Ct. 2011) (Unpublished)

TAXATION; APPEALS — If a taxpayer only appeals its failure to receive a tax exemption, it cannot pursue an over evaluation complaint if time has run out for such an appeal even though its exemption may have been denied.

A not-for-profit corporation sought exemption for its property as a history landmark. However, after much litigation, the courts ruled that the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) decision to deny certification was current. During the pendency of its historic landmark litigation, the not-for-profit corporation appealed its property taxes for 2002, 2003, and 2004. It argued that it qualified for tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization and as a registered historic site. Those appeals were put on hold while the corporation engaged in its court battles with the DEP.

It was in June 2010 when an appeals court ruled that the corporation did not merit special historic tax-exempt status. The corporation then returned to the Tax Court, now seeking to argue that the municipality had over-assessed the property for 2002, 2003, and 2004. The municipality sought to have the matter dismissed on the grounds that the statute of limitations for raising such an argument had run out. The Tax Court agreed, finding that the original tax appeals focused solely on tax-exemption issues, saying “[t]here is nothing in the complaint for tax years 2002, 2003 or 2004 that alludes, indirectly or otherwise, to valuation.” However, the Tax Court did not dismiss the tax appeal altogether, noting that the not-for-profit corporation was still arguing that it qualified for a tax exemption as a nonprofit organization. The Court gave the not-for-profit corporation some time to advise the Court and the municipality in writing whether it intended to pursue that claim.

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