M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Commercial Real Estate Law — December 18 - January 14, 2020 — 9A


C ommercial R eal E state L aw

By David B. Wolfe, Esq., Skoloff & Wolfe, PC Prepare Now: COVID-Era Property Tax Appeals in Focus for 2021


he COVID-19 pan- demic has changed everything. How we

that this municipal action vio- lates the Uniformity Clause of State Constitutions as well as the Equal Protection guar- antees of the United States Constitution. 3. There is no substitute for quantitative analysis when projecting property taxes. S&W has an extensive transactional and capital markets practice in which we provide property tax un- derwriting and due diligence. As such, we routinely provide tax counsel to institutional and private investors, as well as commercial brokers on

significant market transac - tions. In that role, we advise our clients that there is no substitute for actual market- based analysis and that gen- eralities must be avoided. Failing to properly project or account for property taxes can single-handedly destabi- lize an investment thesis or destroy a business plan. It is imperative to examine this issue early and base your investment conclusions on a real understanding of the individual market. 4. Now is the time to assemble your team and prepare.

Given the extent of the re- lief taxpayers will be seeking, and the anticipated volume of appeals, it is vital to assemble your team of professionals as early as possible. We are actively analyzing our clients’ portfolios to identify appeal opportunities as well as to identify pathways to prospec- tive or emergent relief. This may also be the time to obtain an expert report for your prop- erty portfolio and begin nego- tiations with the appropriate taxing authorities. In challenging times, prop- erly addressing property tax issues becomes more essential

than ever. Skoloff & Wolfe is proud that our clients entrust us with this great responsibil- ity and accept the challenge to deliver positive results. David B. Wolfe, Esq. is the managing partner of Skoloff & Wolfe, PC’s Real Property Tax Department. Wolfe handles significant real property tax matters for both commercial and residential clients. He has obtained significant assess - ment reductions on behalf of his clients, including retail chains, hotels, res- taurants, and multifamily housing units. MAREJ

work, shop, a n d p l a y have all been u p e n d e d . One th i ng that has not changed is the need to pay property taxes.

David B. Wolfe

Skoloff &Wolfe, PC has one of the largest property tax ap- peal practices in the Mid-At- lantic region and nationally. We have active cases in major markets throughout the U.S., and—for nearly 60 years—we have worked to secure billions in assessment reductions for individual, corporate, and institutional clients. This has given us a global perspective on how property taxes are assessed and how they can be challenged. The following are key ar- eas of focus on which we are advising our clients as 2021 approaches: 1. Taxing authorities will be forced to reckon with COVID-19 in 2021. Tax Year 2021 will mark the first year in which tax - ing authorities will be forced to acknowledge COVID-19’s impact on property values. Many jurisdictions have re- fused to recognize the impact of COVID-19 thus far because 2020 assessments were es- tablished with pre-COVID-19 valuation dates. However, since values for Tax Year 2021 are based on post-CO- VID-19 valuation dates, tax- ing authorities are no longer able to ignore the pandemic’s impact on property values. As such, we are anticipating a large increase in the volume of appeals, particularly in the retail, hospitality and office sectors. 2. Beware of increase cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Despite the pandemic, the proliferation of municipality- initiated “increase cases” should be a top concern for commercial property taxpay- ers. As municipalities focus their attention on their larg- est taxpayers, S&W is help- ing clients defend increase appeals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our firm is ac - tively litigating the constitu- tionality of these matters by seeking a judicial declaration

Increase the value of your real estate holdings. Skoloff &Wolfe is a nationally recognized leader in the area of property tax law. We have obtained billions of dollars in assessment reductions for our clients, including the following recent assessment reductions * :


OFFICE ASSESSMENT Reduced from $138 million to $64 million

Reduced from $116 million to $67 million

293 Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 390, Livingston, New Jersey 07039 973.992.0900 • skoloffwolfe.com *All assessments rounded to nearest million.


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