On appeal from Tax Court of New Jersey, Docket No. 000145-2007.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 18, 2007
Before Judges Skillman and Yannotti.
On October 2, 2006, defendant Director of the Division of Taxation promulgated the 2007 State school aid equalization table. Under N.J.S.A. 54:51A-4c, a challenge by a taxing district to the ratio set forth in this table was required to be filed within forty-five days of its promulgation, and the Tax Court was required to decide that challenge by January 30, 2007.
Plaintiff Atlantic City filed a challenge to the 2007 table on January 25, 2007, which was more than two months after expiration of the forty-five day period for bringing such a challenge and only five days before the deadline for the Tax Court to decide the challenge.
The Director moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it was untimely. The City's answering brief did not offer any excuse for its delay in filing the complaint.
The Tax Court granted the Director's motion and dismissed the complaint. The court concluded that the forty-five period for challenging the school aid ratio is jurisdictional and cannot be extended. The court also indicated that even if the statutory deadline were relaxable, Atlantic City had not shown grounds for such relaxation:
[T]he facts indicate that as early as August 2006 Atlantic City was well aware of the fact that [the alleged non-usable sales that are the subject of its challenge to the ratio] were not going to be used when notice was given to the assessor and no later than mid October when notice was given to the Mayor. To have slept on its rights, whatever the explanation, is not to be excused by an equitable tolling[.]
On appeal, Atlantic City presents the following arguments:
I. THE COURT MAY RETAIN JURISDICTION ON ITS OWN MOTION UPON A SHOWING OF SIGNIFICANT MISALLOCATION OF SCHOOL AID.
II. THE DIRECTOR'S TABLE CANNOT BE REASONABLY JUSTIFIED AND ITS USE CREATES A SIGNIFICANT MISALLOCATION OF SCHOOL AID.
III. THE ENTIRE CONTROVERSY DOCTRINE REQUIRES THIS COURT TO RETAIN JURISDICTION.
IV. THE TAX COURT, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY GRANTED UNDER N.J.S.A. 2A:3A-4(a) SHOULD INVOKE ITS EQUITABLE JURISDICTION ...