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12/17/2012 - New Law to Help Residents After Hurricane Sandy


CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ – Officials in Cumberland County want to make residents aware of a law in New Jersey that may help property owners whose property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  “Hurricane Sandy had devastating effects in parts of Cumberland County and we’re doing everything we can to help residents recover from this terrible storm.  If you own property that sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy and you want to be considered for a reduction in your tax assessment, you should contact your local tax assessor as soon as possible.  You will need to act quickly if you want to take advantage of the law, because the deadline to notify the tax assessor is January 9th, 2013.” said, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein. 


New Jersey assesses real property on an annual basis using October 1st of each year as the date of valuation.  For example, 2013 tax assessments are based upon the condition and value of property as of October 1, 2012.  “Since Hurricane Sandy arrived after the valuation date, any decrease in value caused by Hurricane Sandy may not be relevant in a 2013 tax appeal.  There is an exception to the rule, however in New Jersey law.  If your property sustained damage that caused a “material depreciation” in the value between October 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013, you may be entitled to a reduction in your tax assessment.” said Tom Sheppard, Cumberland County Freeholder Deputy Director & Chairman of the Finance Committee.


The law (N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1) provides:


When any parcel of real property contains any building or other structure which has been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished, or altered in such a way that its value has materially depreciated, either intentionally or by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake, or other casualty, which depreciation of value occurred after October first in any year and before January first of the following year, the assessor shall, upon notice thereof being given to him by the property owner prior to January tenth of said year, and after examination and inquiry, determine the value of such parcel of real property as of said January first, and assess the same according to such value.


To take advantage of this law, you need (1) a building or structure that was damaged, (2) the damage must cause the value to be materially depreciated, and (3) you must notify the tax assessor of the damage before January 10, 2013.  It is advisable to send a written notice to the tax assessor, via certified mail, immediately and follow up with a phone call.  Residents can use the following link: to the statewide directory of tax assessors.  Cumberland County residents can use the following direct link: to see the list of Cumberland County tax assessors and their hours of operation.


If you have any questions or need assistance in sending a notice to your local assessor, you should contact your local tax office in the municipality where you live.





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