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Borough Denies Being Shortchanged by $17M in Annual Property Taxes by Westfield

The borough denies the validity of a recent report by United Voice, an Australian labor union that claims Westfield's Garden State Plaza is avoiding millions in annual taxes.

Borough Tax Assessor, James Anzevino, and Borough Attorney, Paul Kaufman, released information scrutinizing and denying the validity a recent report claiming that Paramus is being shortchanged by millions in annual taxes.

Australian labor union, United Voice, released a report Monday claiming that Westfield, owners of Garden State Plaza, is shortchanging the Borough of Paramus by $17.1 million in property taxes annually.

According to Anzevino, Westfield Group has paid all taxes assessed by the Borough. 

The United Voice report states in an annual report, Westfield reported the worth of the Garden State Plaza to be $1.68 billion to their shareholders. Those numbers indicated that Westfield’s Garden State Plaza is only paying property taxes on 40 percent of the shareholder value, another claim the borough questioned. 

“United Voice claims that Westfield Group reports to its shareholders that the net worth of the Garden State Plaza is far in excess of the valued assessed by the Borough. While we do not know the methodology for valuing net worth in Australia, we do know that the accounting methods approved in the United States by the SEC is far different than the methodology for assessing real property in New Jersey.”

United Voice has a hand in running the website westfieldwatch.org.au, a website dedicated to “holding Westfield to account for its impact on workers and communities.”

Here is an excerpt from the site

“It’s time to take a stand against Westfield. After all, Westfield has failed. We’re keeping watch on Westfield because we know the company is more interested in money than keeping our communities stable. And we think it’s time for that to change.”

The borough has reached out to Fitzgibbons Media, United Voice’s representatives in the U.S., numerous times but has yet to receive a returned call or email.

“United Voice is an Australian labor union in the midst of a labor dispute with Westfield in Australia. This misleading, fallacious and irresponsible report/release is an attempt to bring the dispute to Paramus, where it does not belong,” said the borough.

What are your thoughts on property taxes paid by businesses versus homeowners? Let us know in the comments section below. 

The United Voice report being questioned by the borough is attached above. 

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