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Reducing Property Taxes - Property Tax Grievances

It is indeed a very difficult time for New York State property owners.  While the real estate market and the general economy remain weak, counties/towns, villages and schools seem to be unable to curtail spending and are passing along ever-increasing tax bills to property owners.

 

Taking advantage of filing a property tax grievance is a simple and cost effective way for property owners and/or those in contract to purchase a property to combat ever-escalating property tax bills.  In the current environment, many property owners could and should seek relief in the form of assessment reduction.

 

A successful tax grievance lowers one’s taxes by reducing the property assessment. Since property tax bills are calculated by taking one’s assessment and multiplying it by the appropriate annual tax rate, tax bills are proportional to property assessment.

 

In New York, the property tax grievance is essentially a no-lose way to attempt to reduce property taxes through assessment reduction.  Even if a tax appeal is denied, property assessment cannot be increased through the process. 

 

You do not need representation to file a tax grievance; you may do it yourself. However, if you do choose professional representation, many firms will work with you on a contingency basis so that there is only a fee due if the assessment is reduced.  Usual fees are 50% of the first year’s tax saving as a one time fee. Some firms will even pay your appeal filing and appraisal fee if they are unsuccessful in getting your assessment reduced.

 

Since in most tax jurisdictions a reduction in the assessment is permanent (baring modifications to the property or an unlikely town-wide reassessment), a reduction in the property’s assessment,  will result in a permanent proportional reduction in the tax bill relative to what the tax bill would have been under the assessment prior to reduction.  For example, a 10% reduction in the property assessment will result in a 10% savings on tax bills every year going forward relative to what the tax bill would have been based on the old assessment. 

 

Property tax grievance filing deadlines are quickly approaching for many New York residents.  Residents in villages should determine if they are self-assessing and note separate village filing deadline date (frequently in February).  Deadlines are later in the year for most towns and counties. Don’t miss your filing deadline(s) or you may be overpaying property taxes for another full year before you can file again!

 

James Burns

Aventine Properties LLC