UPDATE: Figuring Out Your Tax Bill

Montclair officials release reassessment information.


Montclair taxpayers received their recently issued tax bills in the mail late last week, bills that reflect changes based on the reassessed value of their properties. As a result, Montclair Patch has been bombarded with emails from Montclair residents concerned that their taxes have increased dramatically. Some charge that they soon will be putting their homes on the market.

But Councilor Bill Hurlock said today that at least some residents are reading their bills the wrong way.

"Essentially people are erroneously multiplying the third quarter payment by four and claiming that this is their new tax," he said. "The third quarter captures part of the payment for quarters one and two, thus it is already elevated."

He said that the township website has issued an update on the proper way to look at the property tax issue.

For those still confused by their tax bill, there's little the new Township Council can do about it. Assessments have been filed with the county and are completed for this year, meaning people can file an appeal—but for next year.

Here's the note from the township:

Montclair taxpayers received their recently issued tax bills which reflect changes based on the reassessed value of their property. Some tax bills increased in amounts greater than the spending increases approved in the municipal, school and county budgets – the atypical increase is a result of the township-wide reassessment conducted in 2011.

With the decline the housing market, Montclair property owners have filed 3,724 tax appeals since 2007. The appeals reduced the assessed value only on the properties whose owners successfully appealed. With only a portion of properties being adjusted to market value, an unfair shift in the tax burden was created that could only be adjusted through a township-wide reassessment.

Since reassessments adjust properties to market value, the properties whose assessments were closer to market value prior to the reassessment will see an increase in their tax burden.

Multiplying your third quarter bill by four will not accurately reflect your annual taxes – to determine your annual bill, multiply your new assessed value by the tax rate .03252.

The table below illustrates how the reassessment increased or decreased tax bills.

  No. Properties No. Properties  

Amount of Change

Increase Decrease Total Properties =>100 291 391   Between 101 and 500 Dollars 935 893   Between 501 and 1,000 Dollars 625 1,013   Between 1,001 and 2,000 Dollars 794 2,103   Between 2,001 and 4,000 Dollars 953 1,187   Between 4,001 and 6,000 Dollars 216 137   Between 6,001 and 8,000 Dollars 40 28   8,000 + 30 33     3,884 5,785 9,669  

As an aside, the Township Council will be holding its first regular meeting tonight at 8 p.m. (Also, you can take a look at your own taxes as well as everyone else's taxes by going here.)


Stuart Weissman July 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
My wife and I looked at other tax rates around Essex County. The only towns with higher rates are more urban than Montclair. Think Irvington, Newark, East Orange, etc. The Essex Fells and Caldwells and Cedar Groves are significantly lower. The only other town with a similar demographic to Montclair and similarly high taxes is West Orange. Though, one could argue that Montclair has significantly more commercial ratables than West Orange. Part of the equation is the average value of the average domicile in each of these towns. The towns where the average household is valued less, tend to have higher tax rates in most cases. This is where I think Montclair is unique. In 2009, Montclair's average home value was around 583K, while West Orange's was 402K. So why does Montclair buck the trend? http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/lpt/gtr11essex.pdf
Montclair Public July 19, 2012 at 03:43 PM
It's surprising to me that so many here are now expressing shock at the rise in their taxes. When the results of the reassessment were announced, the town manager stated on numerous occasions and it was reported here and in the Montclair Times that the average decline in home value would be near 20%. If you came in above that you were going to be taxed higher, and I am guessing a healthy percentage of those properties belonged to folks who had successfully appealed in the past. It was also logical that the tax rate would have to rise to compensate for the overall reduction in assessed home value. FYI: while i agree with Mr. Shor and Mr. Simon that our taxes are a fair price to pay for the kind of suburban town and cultural experience Montclair provides to raise a family in, it is long past time to get control of the debt as well (not necessarily by declaring war on public employees, but negotiating respectively and realistically) and, yes, giving the new mayor a chance to grow revenues. the notion that we are going to dramatically cut teacher salaries and benefits and maintain the school system is delusional.
Montclair Public July 19, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Millburn and Short Hills, ugh.
A. Gideon July 19, 2012 at 07:56 PM
"The towns where the average household is valued less, tend to have higher tax rates in most cases." Very roughly speaking, doesn't this make sense? The activities involved in running a town - schools, roads, sanitation, etc. - are the same whether the properties in a town are more or less valuable. This is one of the reasons why I think local property taxes are problematic in general as an income source. ...Andrew
Dentss Dunnagun January 20, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Actually you can do something other than appeal ....tell the town of your intent to appeal ,and stop paying taxes ,set up an escrow tax account ,deposit the tax money into the account every 1/4 tell the town the account number just so they can't try to sell you home on a tax lien .Your protected as well as well as is the towns money ...problem is they can't access the money to spend .If enough people did this it would starve the BEAST


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