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Stavitsky & Associates, LLC.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What chapter 91 is and how it functions
  • The requirements associated with chapter 91
  • How to defend against chapter 91 as a taxpayer

A chapter 91 request in New Jersey is a form that many assessors within New Jersey municipalities send out annually to property owners and taxpayers to request the prior year’s financial information affecting the property. This can include the property’s rental income and operating expenses during the past year. Operating expenses are the expenses associated with the real estate operation.

What Is The Timeframe To Respond To Request From New Jersey Municipal Tax Assessors?

After receiving this demand from the New Jersey Municipal Tax Assessors, you have 45 days to respond.

What Are The Penalties For Failing To Respond To A Request From The New Jersey Municipal Tax Assessors For Expense And Income Information From Property Owners?

The penalty for failing to respond and filing a property tax appeal is that the town will make a motion to dismiss your appeal. As long as the town complied with the statutory requirements in connection with their sending to the taxpayer, their motion to dismiss will succeed. There are several statutory requirements to make the request for information valid. First, the town has to specify the period covered for the request for financial information. Second, they need to have a letter signed by the assessor that specifies the period of time for which the information demand is requested. Third, they need to enclose a copy of the law requiring disclosure of the information. Finally, the demand for this information must be sent to the taxpayer via certified mail.

Can A Taxpayer Defend Against A Chapter 91 Motion?

The taxpayer can defend against a chapter 91 motion on the grounds that the town did not specify the time period, that the town did not enclose a signed letter by the assessor requesting the information, that they did not enclose the copy of the chapter 91 statute and that it was not sent to the taxpayer at its address via certified mail. If any or all of those requirements are not met, the taxpayer can defend the motion to dismiss. Even if they lose and the town’s motion is granted by the tax court, the taxpayer still can request a reasonableness hearing.

The reasonableness hearing is an opportunity for the taxpayer to present evidence before the tax court that the assessment is so egregious that despite the taxpayer’s failure to comply with the demand, they can still potentially demonstrate to the court that it’s over-assessed. Despite the failure to provide the information, a further examination of the should be afforded to the taxpayer.

How Can The Taxpayer Show That The Tax Assessor Failed To Comply With The Law Regarding A Chapter 91 Motion In New Jersey?

A taxpayer can show that the tax assessor failed to comply with the law by specifying the fact that the assessor was unable to meet the four criteria that I have referenced, enclosing a copy of the statute, a letter signed by the assessor, requesting information and specifying the time period and that all this was sent via certified mail to the taxpayer.

How Does The Taxpayer Establish That It’s Satisfied Its Obligation To Respond And Send Back The Requested Information Within The Prescribed Time Even Though The Tax Assessor May Have Failed To Receive It?

By sending the requested information by a trackable form of mailing, the taxpayer can dispute any false or incorrect claims by the tax assessor that the responses were not received. Having a system that has a back-up can help give a taxpayer the opportunity to fight a motion to dismiss.

For more information on Chapter 91 in New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (973) 869-5550 today.


Stavitsky & Associates, LLC.

Call For A Complimentary Review
(973) 227-1912