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Hurricane Sandy homeowners may see tax loophole break

NJDollars030911_optBY GINA G. SCALA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

New Jersey residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy may actually see a break in the aftermath of her destruction.

A loophole in the state property tax law provides for the reassessment of homes post-Hurricane Sandy since she hit the Garden State after Oct. 1, 2012 but before Jan. 1, 2013.

"Typically, properties in New Jersey are assessed for property taxes as of October 1, 2012 for the 2013 tax year," attorney A. Paul Genato of the New Jersey-based law firm Archer and Greiner, PC told Examiner.com. "However, there is an exception under N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1 that may apply if the building was 'materially depreciated, either intentionally or by the action of storm, fire, tornado, or earthquake or other casualty' after October 1, 2012 and before January 1, 2013."

In order to be eligible, homeowners must alert the tax assessor of damage done to their property before Jan. 10, 2013.

"(If they don't notify) essentially they would be paying taxes in 2013 based on a property with no hurricane damage," Genato said, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of the small time frame for the tax loophole. "If they notify the tax assessor and the statute applies, the valuation date for 2013 would be Jan. 1, 2013 instead."

“…the goal is to obtain property tax relief until the property is restored or rebuilt,” he said. The property may be re-adjusted to reflect improvements once it’s rebuilt, repaired or restored.

Additionally, Hurricane Sandy victims may also qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals who reside or have a business in any of the state’s 21 counties may qualify for tax relief.

 

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