Why is my Property Tax Appeal taking so long?

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck|June 22, 2013

Many commercial property owners are turning to their attorneys to prosecute the filing of a tax appeal in order to cut costs. 
Why is my Property Tax Appeal taking so long?

Why is my Property Tax Appeal taking so long?

Many commercial property owners are turning to their attorneys to prosecute the filing of a tax appeal in order to cut costs. 

By and large, these appeals are conducted on a contingent fee basis.  That is to say the attorney will not earn a fee except as a percentage of savings actually achieved upon resolution of the case.  As cases drag on for three (3) and four (4) years at a time requiring repetitive filings against the same property in order to maintain the tax appeals, clients rightfully become antsy and wonder when the process is going to come to an end.

The answer is, any lawyer taking on a real property tax case should advise his client of the snail pace of such litigation.

The problem is sheer volume.  With over 35,000 cases pending, and only six (6) Tax Court Judges, new matters are being assigned tentative trial dates two (2) years out and later.  Add to that the fact that Tax Court Judges are retiring and new ones are not coming on quickly enough and an unavoidable log jam is created.  The filing for tax property appeals is at a record high.  As reported by the Tax Court in its 2012 annual report, in 2012, over 15,000 new cases were filed.  The court further reports that only approximately 6,000 cases were resolved during the calendar year 2012.  While a number of the filings in 2012 may have been repetitive filings against the same property, it is clear that the new incoming filed cases far exceed the case numbers being resolved.  Add to that the lack of motivation for a town to resolve quickly any tax appeal where a large refund is likely to occur and you have the makings of a considerable foot dragging situation aided and abetted by an overwhelmed and overburdened tax court system.

Accordingly, when considering the filing of a tax appeal case, don’t expect immediate results.  Instead, prepare for the long haul.


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Why is my Property Tax Appeal taking so long?

Why is my Property Tax Appeal taking so long?
Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck

By and large, these appeals are conducted on a contingent fee basis.  That is to say the attorney will not earn a fee except as a percentage of savings actually achieved upon resolution of the case.  As cases drag on for three (3) and four (4) years at a time requiring repetitive filings against the same property in order to maintain the tax appeals, clients rightfully become antsy and wonder when the process is going to come to an end.

The answer is, any lawyer taking on a real property tax case should advise his client of the snail pace of such litigation.

The problem is sheer volume.  With over 35,000 cases pending, and only six (6) Tax Court Judges, new matters are being assigned tentative trial dates two (2) years out and later.  Add to that the fact that Tax Court Judges are retiring and new ones are not coming on quickly enough and an unavoidable log jam is created.  The filing for tax property appeals is at a record high.  As reported by the Tax Court in its 2012 annual report, in 2012, over 15,000 new cases were filed.  The court further reports that only approximately 6,000 cases were resolved during the calendar year 2012.  While a number of the filings in 2012 may have been repetitive filings against the same property, it is clear that the new incoming filed cases far exceed the case numbers being resolved.  Add to that the lack of motivation for a town to resolve quickly any tax appeal where a large refund is likely to occur and you have the makings of a considerable foot dragging situation aided and abetted by an overwhelmed and overburdened tax court system.

Accordingly, when considering the filing of a tax appeal case, don’t expect immediate results.  Instead, prepare for the long haul.