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Spot assessment violates equal protection clause. (Cases in Brief).

The reassessment of a residence as a class 20 residence (single-family residence--mansion quality) was a spot assessment in violation of the equal protection clause and the uniformity provision of the state constitution, according to a New Jersey appellate court.

Marianne Centorino owns property in Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, which she purchased on September 26, 1997. At that time, the assessed value of the property for property tax purposes was $492,100. The local tax assessor reviewed the sale and sale price of the property and noted that the assessment-to-sales ratio fell under 85% because the property had been assessed at $492,100 and was sold for $730,000. Thereafter, the assessor reviewed the property's prior assessment, consulted the selling brokers, and viewed the exterior of the property while driving past it. The assessor also reviewed sales of comparable properties. The assessor concluded the property had been undervalued because it was wrongfully listed as a class 18 residence (single-family residence--good quality materials and workmanship). The assessment was valued at $601,900. Centorino appealed. The Tax Court ruled in favor of the township. Centorino appealed.

The appellate court concluded that the assessor had singled out the property for reassessment because of its sale price. The court noted the assessor did not rely on any legitimate nonsale-related justifications, such as additions to the property, for the increase. "Reason would indicate that such an assessment decision was suspect," the court said. The Tax Court decision was reversed and the case sent back for the entry of judgment, assessing the property at the amount just prior to Centorino's purchase.

Centorino v. Tewksbury TP.

Superior Court of New Jersey

Appellate Division

December 27, 2001

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Title Annotation:Centorino v. Tewksbury TP
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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