Appeal Your Property Tax Bill

Appeal Your Property Tax Bill

Anyone who wishes to appeal their property bill needs to first of all carefully read their real estate assessment. You can actually reduce your property tax bill and the best way to do that is to appeal the value that your home was assigned by the taxman. It’s this value that’s used for calculating the amount of tax you owe.

If you want to reduce your property tax, then you first of all need to show that your home’s value is lower than the value assessed by the taxman. To do the initial research, you can call your real estate agent or do some quick online research. If you do indeed find out that your property’s value was assessed to be higher than it actually is, then the appeal process can take months.

Read the Assessment Letter

The real estate tax is regularly assessed by the local government. When you receive the letter about it in the mail, it will contain info about your property, such as its assessed value (including that of your land), legal description, but also lot size.

To calculate your property tax bill, you need to multiply your local tax rate with your property’s assessed value.

If you discover that the value of your home is higher than it should be, be sure to challenge it right away. The process should take thirty days or less.

To challenge your assessment, be sure to consider the following steps:

1.Think about Whether an Appeal Is Something You Want To Go Forward With

The stakes are what determine the amount of effort you want to put into a challenge.

If you can lower your property’s assessed value by fifteen percent then your tax bill should go down approximately 15% as well.

In Suffolk County NY, the tax rates are about four percent of a property’s assessed value, in Nassau County rates are about eleven percent meaning that the savings potential is higher. The same goes for communities where property prices are above median.

2. Verify the Data

Check the data for your home and make sure it’s correct. This includes the size of the lot, number of fireplaces, bathrooms, etc. If you find anything wrong, challenge it right away.

3. Get the Comps

Speak to a realtor to learn more about 3 to 5 properties that were recently sold. You may also want to head over to realtor.com to check the value of similar properties to yours in terms of location, condition, style, and size. If you want, you can spend anywhere between three hundred and fifty to six hundred dollars to hire an appraiser and receive a professional opinion about your property’s value.

Once you find comps, verify their assessments. If your local government has no data on them, hire a real estate agent to help you learn more about this. If you discover that the assessments on your comp are lower, you can then argue that yours is higher than it should be.

You can have a case for relief based on equity if you can prove that the comparable properties are better than yours. For instance, it could be that while you were trying to clean up water damage, your neighbor added an addition to their home. In this case, the properties aren’t comparable anymore.

4. Present your Case

Ring your local assessor’s office and see what they have to say about your case. If you’re not happy with their answer, you may request a formal review. Fill out any necessary forms and pay attention to procedures and deadlines. A review may take between 30 and 90 days and usually does not require you to appear in person. Once a decision is taken, you’ll receive it in writing.

5.If You Don’t Like the Review, Be Sure To Appeal It

The decision can be appealed to NYS Supreme Court, Small Claims Assessment Review Division, SCAR for short, and you don’t have to actually hire a tax grievance company to do so. A filing fee may have to be paid (Thirty dollars). Keep in mind that this process may take up to one and a half years. Luckily, homeowners win (more than 50% of the tax appeals in Nassau and Suffolk Counties).

While weighing the appeal, consider the following:

  1. Only your real estate assessment can be reduced and not the rate you’re taxed at.
  2. Under NYS law your assessment can not be raised.
  3. The sale price (if you plan on selling your home) may be negatively impacted if your assessment is reduced before putting your home up for sale.

If you want to save money, then you should learn more about whether you qualify for property tax exemptions based on factors such as military service, disability, age, etc.  Your local assessor can handle these type of requests as well.