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Revaluation FAQS

There are many questions that are often asked when it is learned that a revaluation is to be undertaken in a municipality.  In anticipation of questions and concerns that may arise from the upcoming revaluation and to help property owners to better understand the process and why the revaluation must be performed; how it will be performed; and what an increase in assessment means; the Ewing Township Assessor’s Office has prepared a list of frequently asked questions with answers.  These should help to dispel many of the misconceptions associated with the coming revaluation.  

What is a revaluation?

A revaluation is a program undertaken by a municipality to appraise all real property within the taxing district according to its full and fair value. It is conducted by an outside appraisal firm; for this revaluation, Professional Property Appraisers, Inc. from Cinnaminson.

Revaluation timeline

Projected timeline for Ewing's revaluation process.

Why is a revaluation being performed?

The last revaluation in Ewing was performed in 1992.   The current revaluation was ordered by the Mercer County Board of Taxation and reviewed by the State of New Jersey—Division of Taxation.  Real property is required to be assessed at some percentage of true value established by the County Board of Taxation in each county. All 21 counties in New Jersey have chosen 100%. 

How are taxes determined?

County (including Open Space and Library), municipal and school budget costs determine the amount of property tax to be paid. A town's general tax rate is calculated by dividing the total dollar amount it needs to raise to meet local budget expenses by the total assessed value of all its taxable property. An individual's property taxes are then calculated by multiplying that general tax rate by the full and fair market value for his particular property.

What is meant by full and fair market value?

Full and fair value is the price at which the Assessor believes a property would sell at a fair and bona fide sale by a private contract on October 1 of the pre-tax year. The sale must be between a willing buyer and a willing seller. For example, the buyer is not obligated to buy, and the seller is not obligated to sell. 

Why is there a need for a revaluation?

A revaluation program seeks to spread the tax burden equitably and fairly within a municipality.  Real property must be assessed at the same standard of value to ensure that every property owner is paying his or her fair share of the property tax.  For example, two properties having essentially the same market value should be paying essentially the same amount in property taxes.  

What is done during the revaluation process?

  1. Letter
    A letter announcing the revaluation and appraisal firm will be mailed to the owners of record of all properties in the Township of Ewing.
  2. First Visit
    A field representative will visit your home
    1. During daytime business hours (between 9am – 5pm); appointments can be available at other times
    2. Look for photo ID badge (Do not allow anyone in your home without this identification.  Inspectors will be dressed in business casual with a Professional Appraisers logo on a polo shirt.  Call the Ewing Police before allowing admittance if you have any questions.)  See badge photos on our Professional Property Appraisals Field Representatives document.
    3. A site Inspection of your home is performed and the interior and exterior of each property is physically inspected. 
      1. EXTERIOR REVIEW This includes measurements and photographs of the outside of the property.  The style and condition of the house are noted and the square footage of gross living area is calculated. 
      2. INTERIOR REVIEW The interior of the residence is inspected next and takes approximately 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the house.  All levels of the home including the main floor, upper levels, attics (with permanent fixed stairs) and basements will be inspected.  The inspector will also note the number of rooms, heat type, air conditioning, number/type of fireplaces, plumbing, and the percent of finish in attics and basements.
  3. If no one is home on the first visit, the inspector will leave a yellow notice.  The notice will have a phone number to call to make an appointment.  Evening appointments (typically between 5pm-7pm) to accommodate work schedules.  Some Saturdays inspection appointments will also be available. 
  4. Second Visit – Inspector Estimate If no one is home at the time of the second visit, the inspector will leave a blue card.  If the Inspector is unable to inspect your home, the interior information will be estimated.  Condominium and Townhouse Properties will be assessed in the same manner as single-family properties.
  5. Analysis
    Collected information is downloaded for market analysis and review.   Reports are generated based upon information realized from the inspection of properties and a market sales analysis. This assists in applying all market value indicators into a uniform standard that produces equitable and fair values.  Preliminary market values are established.  These initial values are then reviewed to check for errors. Any necessary corrections are then made.
  6. Notification of Value
    If there is a change, a notification of new tentative values will be mailed to the owner. The notice will also have instructions on how to contact the Assessor’s office to ask questions or schedule a meeting for an informal hearing. If you have questions about my new value…
  7. Informal Hearings
    You will have the opportunity to discuss your proposed assessment with a representative of the Revaluation company.You may schedule a one-on-one meeting.These typically take place in the municipal building.Meetings are held Monday-Saturday; mornings, afternoons & evenings.
  8. Transmittal of Final Values to Municipality & County
    Final values sent to Town and County by the appraisal firm.  All information (data collection forms, property record cards, photographs, neighborhood map, correspondence, database, etc....) is given to the town.   This follows by an official notification of final value from the Municipality (via postcard.)    The assessed value is normally given to the County as of January 10th of a tax year. A notification card (usually green) will be sent to you around mid-February. On this card you have your new assessed value, and last year’s taxes billed prior to any added taxes from improvements.
  9. Tax appeal
    Informal value review meetings will be conducted by the staff of the Revaluation company after data collection is completed and the new values are mailed out. If a property owner is not satisfied with the results of an informal review, a formal appeal may be filed with the Mercer County Board of Taxation by April 1st of each year.  You cannot appeal comparing assessments nor taxes.  Must prove value by use of comparable sales.  Appeal deadlines: -May 1 (newly revalued municipalities); April 1 (all others)

Will a revaluation increase taxes?

Although revaluation will result in an increase of nearly each individual assessment, it does not mean that property taxes will increase. You might now be thinking, “How can my assessment increase and my taxes not go up?”  Remember, assessments are merely a base used to apportion the tax burden. The tax burden is the amount that your municipality must raise for the operation of county and local government and support of the school system.

Do I have to let the data collector inside?

While owners or occupants are not obligated to allow a data collector to enter their property, interior information is required under State guidelines and characteristics will be estimated if they cannot be observed. Interior inspections enhance overall assessment quality, as there may be conditions apparent from the inside that are not discernible from the outside.  In situations where the data collector is denied access to perform an interior inspection, the property owner will forfeit his or her right to file an appeal at the County Board of Taxation.

Data collectors will check items such as:

  • Number of bathrooms
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Types of heating and cooling systems
  • Year house was built
  • General construction, materials and physical condition of the interior and exterior
  • Personal items such as furniture or décor do not influence the value of the house.

What about photography?

Exterior photographs will be taken during the process.  No interior photographs will be taken by the Revaluation company.

My neighbor and I have the same model in our development.  Why is my assessment higher?

You may have a larger lot; a finished area that the other does not have; another bathroom; a special feature such as a Jacuzzi tub that the other doesn’t; OR there may be an error. If you suspect an error, contact the Revaluation company.

Explain the relationship between assessment, tax rate and budgets.

Once all the budgets are finalized, the county, township and schools determine how much money must be raised through property taxation. The County Board of Taxation takes the assessed value for the whole town and divides the total tax money needed by the total assessment to come up with a tax rate. That tax rate is then applied to each individual assessment to determine each property owner’s taxes.

Who should I talk to if I have a concern about high taxes?

You should address the individual taxing authorities: the Ewing Township Committee for municipal taxes; the Ewing Board of Education for school tax, and the Mercer County Freeholders for County taxes. The Township Committee holds its annual budget meetings in late February and March in the municipal court room and all are welcome to attend.

What evidence of value will I need to bring to support my position?

You must bring at least three sales of comparable properties in your neighborhood or comparable properties within the township that demonstrate that it would be highly unlikely that you could sell your property at its assessed value. Alternatively, you can also bring an appraisal from a certified appraiser or a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a Realtor. A CMA can only be used in the informal hearing stage with the Revaluation company. At the County Board Appeal level, you can bring in your own comparable sales or you can use a professional appraisal, however the appraiser must appear at the hearing to answer any questions to the validity.

What is the deadline for discussing my assessment with the Assessor without having to do through the County Board of Taxation appeal process?

All discussions must take place well before the deadline for filing appeals. Property owners who desire are encouraged to allow ample time prior to May 1st to set up an appointment with the Revaluation company.

What costs can I expect if I file an appeal and go through the County process?

FILING FEES ARE:
  1. An appeal on assessed valuation:
  • Less than $150,000 ………………………………. $5.00
  • $150,000 to $500,000……………………………$25.00
  • $500,000 to $1,000,000 …………………….. $100.00
  • $1,000,000 or more ……………………………..$150.00
  1. An appeal on classification …………………………….$25.00
  2. Appeal on Valuation and Classification ……………..Sum of A and B
  3. Appeal not covered by a, b or c ………………………$25.00

Is it necessary to hire an attorney?

It is up to the property owner. Some property owners hire an attorney to help them navigate the trail of paperwork, but many have completed the process without an attorney. The cost of the attorney is borne by the property owners.

Recommended Links for Additional Information

Ewing Documents


Contact the Tax Office

Assessor
Jeff Burd

Support Staff
Erica Brandmaier, Assistant Assessor

Office Phone
p: (609) 883-2900 x7661
f: 609-771-1745

Mailing Address
Office of the Tax Assessor
Township of Ewing
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Hours of Operation
M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm


 

Municipal Building 
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628
 
(609) 883-2900 
 M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Senior & Community Center 
999 Lower Ferry Road 
Ewing, NJ 08628 
(609) 883-1776 
 M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Hollowbrook Community Center
320 Hollowbrook Drive
Ewing, NJ  08638
(609)  883-1199
M-F: 8:30am - 4:30pm
 

Scotch Road (Public Works) 
Bulk and Electronic Items 
Th-F: 7:00am - 3:00pm 
 Sat: 7:00am - 2:30pm

Jack Stephan Way (Brush Drop-off) 
M-Sat: 7:30am - 2:30pm 

Ewing Animal Shelter 
4 Jake Garzio Drive 
 (609) 771-8076

Ewing Police 
2 Jake Garzio Drive 
 (609) 882-1313

Ewing Branch Library 
61 Scotch Road 
 (609) 882-3130

Rental Property Concern Hotline 
 (609) 323-1177

Ewing Public Schools 
2099 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08618
P: (609) 538-9800
F: (609) 538-0041

Weather Central 
Courtesy of PHVFC 
phvfc.org/Weather.html
 


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