While municipal tax assessors are already prohibited through regulations from appearing as expert witnesses before county boards of taxation (see, N.J.A.C. 18:12A-1.9(l)), this prohibition had never before been applied to the tax court.
Last week, however, the State Tax Court ruled in a published tax court decision that the prohibition of municipal tax assessors appearing as expert witnesses should be extended to the tax court as well. The court reasoned that as impartial judges of property values, tax assessors should take great care to avoid shaking the public’s confidence in the integrity of municipal assessors. Using the current prohibition at the county tax board level, the Local Government Ethics Law and other guidance as a backdrop, the court found that any appearance by a municipal assessor at the tax court, challenging the assessment of another, undermines the integrity of the assessor’s office.
You should share this information with your municipal assessor and review the opinion with your municipal attorney for further guidance.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x 137.