To understand your property assessment there are two parts to the property tax system that all property owners should be aware of, Taxation and Valuation. Property owners must know that taxation is needed by taxing authorities such as municipalities, school districts and county government in order to provide services demanded by taxpayers. Valuation is determined by sales of properties within the municipality. Buyers and sellers in the market create value. The assessor’s office studies the market and collects information about properties to estimate value. The Assessor’s office has no control over the tax rates.
The tax rate on your bill is determined by the county Board of Taxation based on budgets submitted by the municipality, county and schools, and the total assessed value of the municipality. With changes in budgets, tax rates and assessments all affecting the tax you pay, the key to your Real Estate Tax is the bottom line of any budget: “Amount to be raised by Taxation.” Presently, state school aid, part of which comes from the state Income Tax, is based on the equalized valuation of assessments.
Some taxpayers frequently confuse the Office of the Tax Collector with the Office of the Assessor. Taxpayers should note the following:
1 . Your Assessor answers questions regarding the assessed value of property, the Tax Collector answers questions about collection and billing.
2. The Assessor cannot legally collect tax money
3. The Collector should be contacted with questions regarding tax payments and interest accrued on late payments.
Property owners should be aware that the Assessor’s Office works closely with the Building Department in order to maintain proper assessment records. Property owners should be aware of the following:
1. When the Department of Code Enforcement issues permits, you may expect visits from both the Assessor and the Construction Code Official as their duties may require.
2. Improvements may be subject to Added Assessments, which begin the 1st of the month following substantial completion, occupancy or use. The Added Assessment list is submitted to the County Tax Board on October 1st, and is billed by the Collector with due date of November 1st of the same year.
3. If you wish to demolish a garage or vacant structure on your property a permit is required and you should notify the Assessor upon the completion of demolition so that your property record can be updated accordingly.