In New Jersey, property taxes are based on the condition of property as of October 1st of the year prior to the tax year. However, according to Rule N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1, if any building or other structure suffered “material depreciation” due to a major event, such as Hurricane Sandy between October 2nd and December 31st, then property taxes are based on the condition of the property as of January 1st of the tax year.
In order for the county to adjust its tax assessment of the property, the tax assessor must be notified by January 10th of the tax year. For New Jersey property damaged by Hurricane Sandy, taxpayers should first determine whether they have suffered material depreciation in their home/business. (This does not take into account the possible decline in land value resulting from the devastation.) Also, any damage that can be easily repaired such as painting, shingles coming off roof, etc. However, if the home is inhabitable and there is substantial damage that was caused by flooding or falling trees, then material depreciation will be easier to prove. (Homes on the water or shore area will be in the best position to benefit from this law.)
After the taxpayer determines whether their property has materially depreciated, then he/she should contact his/her tax assessor or find further information on his/her county website. Some counties, such as Sussex, already have assessment forms for taxpayers. (Please click the following link if you live in Sussex: http://www.sussex.nj.us/documents/taxboard/assmtreviewform-materialdamagefromstorm.pdf.)