On appeal from the Tax Court of New Jersey.
Matthews, Pressler and Petrella. The opinion of the court was delivered by Matthews, P.J.A.D.
The facts in this case are undisputed. Plaintiff, individually and doing business as Hamiltonian Apartments, was the owner of property in defendant Randolph Township known as 100 Center Grove Road during the years pertinent to the issues in dispute; defendant Stephen P. Arthur is the Tax Collector for the township. Plaintiff paid his real estate taxes in full each year between 1974 and 1978 as they became due, and filed timely appeals to the Morris County Board of Taxation. The county board affirmed the original assessments for each tax year. Plaintiff appealed those determinations to the former Division of Tax Appeals. While those appeals were pending in the Division of Tax Appeals, the proceedings were transferred to the newly created Tax Court pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:3A-26 in accordance with L. 1978, c. 33, effective July 1, 1979 (compiled as N.J.S.A. 2A:3A-1 to 29).
On May 5, 1980, pursuant to settlements agreed upon by the parties, judgments were entered by the Tax Court reducing the assessments for each year. Thereafter, the tax refunds due plaintiff were computed by the township and on May 13, 1980 the township informed plaintiff's attorney of the amount which would be refunded.*fn1
Plaintiff's attorney informed defendants that he had calculated the interest due on the overpayments for 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978 as follows:
Date of payment Interest from
by plaintiff of date of payment
excess taxes Excess tax paid to 5/5/80 at 5%
11/1/74 $16,915.99 $4,661.16
11/1/75 21,938.85 4,948.25
11/1/76 23,016.79 4,0 40.53
11/1/77 19,387.35 2,434.04
11/1/78 30,364.95 2,294. 00
Thus, while defendants admitted to owing $6,498.88 in prejudgment interest (for 1977 and 1978), plaintiff claimed he was owed $18,377.98 in prejudgment interest (for 1974 through 1978). Both parties relied on N.J.S.A. 54:3-27.2 as support for their positions.
The Tax Court judge, relying on 9W Contractors, Inc. v. Englewood Cliffs, 1 N.J. Tax. 465 (1980), held that plaintiff was not entitled to any interest for those ...