In a detailed and closely-watched decision issued on June 25, 2015, Judge Vito Bianco, a New Jersey Tax Court judge sitting in Morristown, denied a property tax appeal of Morristown Memorial Hospital. This case, AHS Hospital Corp., d/b/a Morristown Memorial Hospital v. Town of Morristown, has received great attention in the press for good reason. By holding that a nonprofit hospital is not exempt from paying real estate taxes, the implication is that many hospitals could face this fate as well. For municipalities, this will be welcome news, but for hospitals – and, potentially, other nonprofits – this is a very unwelcome result.
Tagged: Tax Exemptions
All politics, the saying goes, is local. Not so with government, according to a recent decision from New Jersey’s Tax Court. In an opinion that teaches more about legislative drafting than it does about tax policy, the court in New Jersey Turnpike Authority v. Township of Monroe parsed a complex definition of “local government unit” in the Garden State Preservation Trust Act (GSPTA). It held that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority did not come within that definition, and thus could not claim that status to obtain an exemption from roll-back taxes on a parcel it purchased in 2009.
An article published last year entitled, “NJ Charges Forward with Electric Vehicle Network,” discussed the concerted efforts of New Jersey and several other states to develop a Northeast Electric Vehicle Network and promote alternative transportation fuels. The goal of this project is to encourage economic growth, maintain the region’s leadership in the area of clean energy, and reduce the region’s dependence on oil. Toward that end, two bills were recently introduced in the New Jersey State Legislature that would provide further incentive for New Jersey drivers to make the transition to alternative energy vehicles.
All in favor of residential property tax relief, raise your hand! And, if you own an eligible home in the City of Philadelphia, apply now. The City is offering its residential homeowners the opportunity to apply for a Homestead Exemption. The Homestead Exemption would reduce the assessed value of an eligible home by $15,000 or more, and consequently lower the real estate taxes owed by the homeowner because the homeowner would pay real estate tax only on the reduced assessment.
Crucial to New Jersey’s Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law is the time within which an application for the tax exemption or abatement must be filed with the municipal tax assessor. A recent Tax Court of New Jersey decision provides the first published opinion interpreting a crucial provision of the statute used to calculate such period of time. Under N.J.S.A. 40A:21-16, written application for a tax exemption or abatement must be made to the municipal tax assessor within 30 days (including Saturdays and Sundays) following the completion of an improvement, conversion alteration, or construction on the property for which tax abatement or exemption is sought. The statute defines “completion” of a project as the date on which same is “substantially ready for the intended use”.
Expansion of Philadelphia Minimum Wage and Benefit Standards Could Impact Retail and Restaurant Tenants
Under a newly enacted City of Philadelphia Ordinance, some tenants in properties developed with financial assistance by the City of Philadelphia may now be required to comply with a minimum wage requirement that is 150% of the federal minimum wage. Benefits provided to full-time employees of tenants may also be impacted.
The New Jersey State Comptroller released a report Wednesday entitled “A Programmatic Examination of Municipal Tax Abatements.” The Comptroller’s report is critical of both five year abatements and long term abatements granted by municipalities and was being widely reported in the press yesterday. Referring to five year abatements (NJSA 40A-21-1 et seq.) and long term abatements (NJSA 40A-20-1 et seq.), the Comptroller’s report finds “numerous weaknesses in the regulation, implementation and oversight of these programs” including: PILOTs paid to municipalities are at the expense of counties, school districts and other taxpayers; there is lack of transparency and centralization of information about abatement agreements; criteria and processes for evaluating potential abatement agreements are weak; directly affected stakeholders are not adequately involved in the decision making process; municipal follow up on abatement terms and benefits is lacking; redevelopment areas in which abatements are granted are not periodically reviewed to account for neighborhood changes or improvement; municipalities often fail to use abatements to bring in the type of redevelopment that would address community needs or bring appropriate improvement; and the State does not closely monitor the use of abatements or offer significant guidance to municipalities on how to interpret relevant statutes or implement abatement programs.