During the next several weeks, New Jersey real property taxpayers will receive their annual green postcards stating 2011 assessments for real estate tax purposes. The period to file a challenge to a 2011 assessment runs from February 1 to April 1, 2011. The April 1 deadline may, however, be adjusted to the later date of 45 days from the municipality’s bulk mailing of the green postcards.

It is the amount of the assessment—not the tax amount—that can be challenged. A taxpayer may be entitled to a reduction if the assessment (after applying the municipality’s equalization ratio) is more than 15 percent higher than the fair-market value as of the evaluation date, October 1, 2010. A prerequisite to filing an appeal is the payment of all real estate taxes and other municipal charges through the first quarter of 2011. In addition, failure to respond to a tax assessor’s prior request for income and expense information makes a tax appeal subject to dismissal, regardless of the appeal’s merits.

Assessments greater than $750,000 may be challenged directly by appeal to the Tax Court of New Jersey or filed with the applicable county board of taxation