OMG! My Taxes! What Can I Do?

The most common concern I hear from my clients is the issue of taxes on their property - either the residence they own or a property they are considering to purchase.  Is there any recourse?  Yes, actually there is. In New York State there is a process called "Grieving your Taxes".  But  before we talk about the process, it is important to know some of the terms and dates associated with it.

One of the first items to understand is the difference between MARKET value and ASSESSED value.  MARKET value is the value of a property determined by current  market conditions, most often, what buyers are willing to pay  or the value  a municipality determines based on comparable property sales.  ASSESSED value is the value a municipality places on a property for tax purposes.  In some communities assessed value can be 100% of market value, or in other communities, it can be a percentage of the market value. Both of these values should be clearly stated on your municipal tax bill.

Other terms you should know are:

VALUATION DATE:  July 1, 2011.  This is the date the municipality places the value on the property as it would sell for on July 1,2011.

TAXABLE STATUS DATE:  March 1, 2012.  All exemption applications are due by this date, such as Senior Citizen, Veteran exemption.  the property is valued as it physically stands as of this date.

TENTATIVE ROLL DATE:  No later than May 1, 2012.  By this date, tentative assessed values are completed and the roll is legally filed in the Town Clerks Office.  The assessment rollis available for taxpayer review in the Assessor's Office.  Grievance applications (RP-524) are available in teh Assessor's Office.

GRIEVANCE DAY, 4th Tuesday in May, MAY 22, 2012.  All grievance applications (RP-524) must be filed in the Assessor's Office.  The Board of review hears the taxpayer complaints in Town Hall.

FINAL ROLL DATE;  July 1, 2012.  This is the date the Board of Assessment Review decisions are entered on the assessment roll and are legally filed in the Town Clerks Office.  The final assessment roll becomes available for taxpayer review in the Assessor's Office.

2012 Assessment Roll affects:

          - School tax bill September, 2012

         -  General Municipal tax bill, January 2013

So now you know the terms and dates, what do you do next?  The best thing to do is go to the website  The site is created by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and will guide you through the steps of either contesting your assessment or questioning if your assessment is fair.  I think you'll find it to be quite helpful.  Just remember, the focus in the grievance process is the TOTAL ASSESSMENT, LOT SIZE and SQUARE FOOTAGE of the property.  Some taxpayers have considered the option of hiring an attorney to prepare the grievance and represent them during the process.  An option to consider but not necessary.

Also, Good News!  If you are a purchaser and would like to grieve the taxes prior to closingand before the newest tax assessment, you can do so if you have a fully executed sales contract to present to the municipality.

Good Luck!  Please contact me at anytimeif you have questions or would like more information.

Andrea Burr

Andrea Burr

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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