Tax Court Self-Help

New Jersey Tax Court provides a judicial review of tax decisions. Taxpayers can ask the court review state taxes and local property tax.

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Tax Court Overview

The Tax Court can review these cases:

  • Local property tax.
  • State income tax.
  • Homestead rebate appeals. 
  • Sales and business.
  • **You cannot represent yourself in a sales or business tax case. You must have an attorney represent you. The only exception is if you are the sole proprietor of the business.

With few exceptions, you need a final decision from the Division of Taxation or the county board of taxation before you can file. 

If you already have a decision, you can file with eCourts. If Tax Court does not grant your tax relief, you can appeal it. Tax court appeals go through the Appellate Division of Superior Court.

Filing Deadlines:

Appeal property tax: Within 45 days of the written decision from the county board of taxation.
Direct appeal of property tax (only certain properties qualify): By April 1st following the October assessment. (May 1st if the taxing district revaluations municipal-wide.)
Appeal a N.J. Division of Taxation Decision: Within 90 days of the written decision.
Appeal a Tax Court Decision: Within 45 days of final judgment

Do I need a lawyer?

The court system can be confusing, and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services.

Legal Services of New Jersey maintains a directory of regional legal services offices.

The NJ State Bar Association also maintains a list of county referral services that might be helpful.

Things to think about before you represent yourself in court

While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the Rules of the Court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help. 

  • We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
  • We can tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
  • We can give you some information from your case file.
  • We can provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
  • We can provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
  • We can usually answer questions about court deadlines.
  • We cannot give you legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice.
  • We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
  • We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
  • We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
  • We cannot talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
  • We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court.
  • We cannot change an order issued by a judge.

File Your Tax Court Case in eCourts  

eCourts allows you to file and manage your Tax Court case in convenient, online platform. This includes both state tax and local property tax appeals.

If this is your first time using eCourts, you will need to register and create an account.

If you have used eCourts before, log in using your ID and password

The eCourts platform includes everything you need to file and process your case. You do not have to download, print or mail anything. Once in eCourts, you can access resources to guide you through the process. 

Appeal Local Property Tax

If you choose not to file in eCourts, refer to the Local Property Tax Complaint packet for guidance and forms. If your case is small claims, you should refer to the Small Claims Handbook

If you want to challenge your property tax, you must first go to the county board of taxation. If the county board of taxation denies your challenge, you can appeal with Tax Court.

Direct Appeal

You can bypass the county board and appeal directly with Tax Court if:

  • The property in question is worth more than $1,000,000 and was assessed on Oct. 1 or,
  • The property is worth more than $750,000 and was not assessed on Oct. 1.

 

Small Claims include: 

  • A class 2 residential property: A lot or parcel of land on which a 1-4 family home is situated.
  • A class 3a farm residence: farm property not assessed under the Farmland Assessment.
  • A property taxed at less than $25,000 for the prior year.
  • A cse to correct an error pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:51A-7

Costs

Filing Fees

File for one parcel/condo: $250
Each additional parcel/condo:   $  50
Counterclaim for parcel/condo: $250
Each additional parcel/condo counterclaim: $  50
Motion for one parcel/condo: $  50

Small Claims Filing Fees

One small claims parcel/condo: $50
Each additional small claims parcel/condo:  $ 10
Counterclaim for one parcel/condo: $50
Each additional small claims counterclaim: $ 10
Motion for one parcel/condo:  No Fee

After filing, the Tax Court management office will send you:

  • Your case’s docket number.
  • Anticipated trial date. 
  • The assigned judge.
  • Discovery end date.

If using eCourts, this information will be emailed to you. 

Preparing Your Case

Prior to trial, the case enters discovery. You need to submit evidence you plan to use in the trial. The municipal attorney will also prepare their case. You can review the attorney’s evidence. Likewise, you need to submit your evidence to the municipal attorney. 

Property tax is based on the county assessor’s valuation of your property. Assessments take place on Oct. 1st. This date is important because you need to prove your property’s fair market value at the time of assessment. 

Fair market value is a price both a willing buyer and seller would agree to.

Examples of proving fair market value include:

  • Sales of comparable properties.
  • An independent appraisal or other valuation.

When you use the sale price on similar homes, there are some important things to consider. You should find sales that occurred as close to Oct. 1 as possible. The further from the assessment date, the less convincing the comparison between your property assessment and that sale price.

List any properties you intend to use and send the list to the court and opposing attorney. The list should include:

  • Name of buyer and seller. 
  • Date of sale.
  • Sales price
  • Book and page number where the Deed is recorded.
  • Form SR-1A identification number assigned to sale if you can obtain it.

For an independent appraisal, you need:

  • A copy of the appraisal submitted no later than 20 days before trial.
  • The independent appraiser to testify in court. If the appraiser does not testify, the evidence could be dismissed.

You cannot prove fair market value with:

  • Assessments on other properties. 
  • Taxes on other properties.
  • Describing conditions that impact your home: heavy traffic, flooding, etc.
  • Sale prices on properties that significantly differ from your own. 

Dismissal of your appeal

Your appeal may be dismissed for:

  • Not paying taxes or municipal charges.
  • Late filing.
  • Failure to provide income and expense information on income-producing properties.
  • Prior settlement, withdrawal or failure to pursue you case with the county board of taxation.

Pre-Trial Settlement

You can reach a settlement agreement before the trial. The county tax assessor might reach out to you. If not, you should call and ask if they are open to settlement.  

If you reach a settlement, the assessor or municipal attorney will prepare a Stipulation of Settlement

The Trial

You will have the chance to present evidence of your property’s value to the judge.

The municipal attorney can cross-examine you and your witnesses.  The municipal attorney also will present their defense. You will be able to cross-examine any witnesses for the municipality. 

The judge usually renders a decision at the end of the trial. 

Appeal a State Tax

You can file your state tax appeal in eCourts. Or use the State Tax Complaint Packet. The packet contains the State Tax Complaint form and the State Tax Case Information Sheet. Always keep copies of any documents you file in your case. 

Your case must include:

  • The completed complaint form.
  • A copy of the determination you are appealing. 
  • The completed state tax information sheet.
  • The required filing fee(s).
  • Any additional documentation to support your case.

Costs:

Filing Fees

One state tax:  $250
Each additional state tax:  $  50
Counterclaim for state tax: $250
Each additional state tax counterclaim: $  50
Motion for state tax: $  50

Small Claims Filing Fees

One small claims State tax: $50
Each additional small claims state tax: $ 10
Counterclaim for small claims state tax: $50
Each additional small claims counterclaim: $ 10
Motion for small claims: No Fee

There is no fee for:

  • Homestead credit, rebate or refunds.
  • Senior citizen’s or veteran’s exemption or deductions. 

Deliver or send the forms by certified or regular mail to:

Tax Court - Administrative Office of the Courts
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex
P.O. Box 975
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0972

You must email your complaint to the Attorney General and Director, Division of Taxation.

Attorney General email: NJAG.ElectornicService.CivilMatters@law.njoag.gov
Director Division of Taxation email: nj.taxationECourt@treas.nj.gov

If you cannot email the complaint, send copies to:

Director, Division of Taxation
3 John Fitch Way
P.O. Box 240
Trenton, NJ 08695

Appeal a Tax Court Decision to the Appellate Division

Appeals of Tax Court decisions go to the Appellate Division of Superior Court.

Access appellate court forms and instructions on the Appeals Self-Help page

Obtain Tax Court Records for Your Appeal

Use the Transcript Ordering Information from to request a transcript. You can also request sound recordings. Use the Sound Recording Request form to obtain a recording of your Tax Court hearing. 

Use the Records Request Form to obtain a Tax Court record. 

Send Tax Court record requests to: TaxCourt.Mailbox@njcourts.gov

Tax Court Forms

Access forms that could be required or helpful in Tax Court: