July 5, 2016

Lawsuit Challenges Princeton’s Property Tax Exemption

About two dozen Princeton homeowners recently joined four other residents in a five-year-old lawsuit challenging Princeton’s property tax exemption, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The suit argues that the university made $524 million in licensing income, mostly from a patent that lead to the creation of a cancer-fighting drug.

The plaintiffs claim that the school should pay as much as $40 million a year in property taxes, a sum that “would be enough to cut homeowners’ tax burden by about one-third.” The school counters that it is the borough’s biggest taxpayer, making its tax rate the lowest in Mercer County. The school pays about $8 million in property taxes on graduate student residences and other nonacademic property, plus voluntarily contributes about $3 million toward emergency services and public works.

(A 2014 OLR report summarizes the arguments the homeowners and university made in the court documents they filed in 2013 with New Jersey’s Tax Court, which refused to dismiss the case. At that time, the court did not set a trial date and the parties were negotiating out of court.)