Did you know that you can actually reduce your property’s tax bill if you appeal the value assigned to your property by the taxman? In fact, it’s the estimated value that is used for the purpose of calculating your taxes. If you want to reduce your taxes, the best way is to prove your property is worth less than its estimated value. Doing so is easy by researching online or calling your realtor. If in your research you discover that you’re right about this, then the process for appealing can take up to 18-24 months to finalize.
Read your assessment letter
Nassau & Suffolk Counties regularly estimate the real estate they tax. This means that when they receive your estimation, it’s going to contain info regarding your property (such as legal description and lot size), but also the estimated value of your land and property. To calculate your property tax, the local government will multiply your property’s assessed value by the local tax rate (values vary from town to town). However, if you think that your home’s value is a lot higher than its actual value, you should dispute it right away.
Consider these 5 steps when challenging your assessment:
1. Assess whether an appeal is worth your time
The amount of time and effort you may choose to put into a dispute is influenced by the stakes. In 2015, the median property tax was in Suffolk County was $7,192, Nassau County was even higher with a median of $8,711. That’s around 1.79 percent of the approximate $487 thousand median value property. Therefore, if you manage to reduce your home’s assessed value by 15% at a tax rate of 10 percent, you’ll save $1,838 dollars a year in the process.
However, if you live in certain parts of Nassau County, where the tax rates are about 15% of a property’s value, potential savings are even higher. The same thing is true for communities with property prices well above the Nassau and Suffolk’s median.
2. Verify the data
Ensuring the info about your property is accurate is very important. Is the size of the lot accurate? How about the number of fireplaces and/or bathrooms? If there are errors among the facts, then you should dispute them right away.
3. Get the comps
You may want to speak to a realtor and have him find 3 to 5 similar properties that sold recently. It’s also a good idea that you use websites such as realtor dot com to learn more about the average value of properties that are comparable to yours in terms of location, condition, style and also size. On the other hand, if you’re not short on cash, you could pay 350 and 600 dollars to hire an appraiser for the purpose of getting a professional opinion regarding your property’s value.
After you manage to determine the comps, verify the assessments on those houses. If your local government doesn’t maintain public databases, request a neighbor to share tax info or look for help from a real estate agent. If the estimation on their comps is lower, you can dispute yours if it’s too high.
Despite the possibility that the assessments are similar, individuals can still show that the comps are superior to theirs and therefore take advantage of relief based on equity. It could be that your neighbor added something to his property while you were having a hard time cleaning up storm damage. If this is the case, then you could no longer say that the properties are comparable.
4. Present your case
After careful research, get in touch with a local assessor. The majority of them will be willing to (informally) talk about your assessment on the phone. However, if the assessor’s review isn’t satisfactory to you or if he doesn’t want to discuss it on the phone, you may want to request a formal review.
Be mindful of procedures and deadlines. A standard review doesn’t require you to appear in person, yet it can take as little as 30 days and as long as 90 days. When it’s done, you’ll receive a written decision.
5. If you don’t like the review, appeal it
If you’re not satisfied with the review, the decision can be easily appealed to in New York State Supreme Court and it’s your choice whether you hire an attorney or property tax grievance firm for it or not. In case you’ll find yourself before a judge, the dispute can take up to a year to resolve. Fortunately, homeowners with good cases generally triumph and more than 66% of the tax appeals in Nassau County.
Things to bear in mind when weighing an appeal:
- Another way to save on your property tax is to, first of all, establish if you qualify for property tax exemptions based on factors such as military service, disability, etc.
- Only your real estate assessment can be lowered by the appeals board and not the rate at which you are taxed.