TALK TO AN EXPERT NOW

Nassau County: (516) 342-4849
Suffolk County: (631) 302-1940

TALK TO AN EXPERT NOW

Nassau County: (516) 342-4849

TALK TO AN EXPERT NOW
Suffolk County: (631) 302-1940
15 Pro Tips for Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

15 Pro Tips for Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

Looking to appeal your property tax assessment in the near future? We are here to help. Here at Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance Group, we have developed a system to help our clients save money on taxes. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a dime until we win your case. Below, we will break down 15 expert tips for getting your property tax assessment appealed successfully.

1. Know How Your Municipality’s Assessment Works

The assessor that works for the municipality does not have your best interest at heart when they are assessing the total value of your home. In all reality, they are only motivated by getting their job done as quickly as possible. Even if this means that they cut some corners and miss out on some important details in the assessment process. Of course, this can be very problematic for you as the property owner seeking the lowest property taxes possible.

2. Determine Deadlines for Grievance

Better known as “Grievance Day” you will need to have all of your grievance paperwork formally filed and turned in by this day to have a chance at getting your petition approved. Be sure to check your local municipality’s website to determine what day of the year your local Grievance Day is. Keep in mind that if you wait too long that you cannot appeal your tax assessment until the next calendar year.

3. Compare Local Properties

One of the best ways to gather evidence that your property assessment was inaccurately done by the municipality is to look at some of the similar homes you have in your area. To be clear, it’s important to compare similar properties in many different areas such as the total number of rooms, the size of the property, remodeling work that has been done, amenities, and so on. If you find similar homes in your locality with lower values and you may already have a case.

4. Do a Private Appraisal

If you have the extra money to spend on a private appraisal service, this will probably be enough evidence for you to get started with your petition. In many cases, a private appraisal will be a lot more thorough since you are privately paying them to do a good job. One of the only downsides to this idea is that you might end up spending more money than you could end up saving that year on your taxes. Especially if you don’t get your appeal approved.

5. Consider the Recent Purchase Price

Did you recently purchase the home, or have data from previous purchases? This is generally really good evidence that you have a case to appeal your home’s value assessment. The main idea here is that you need to demonstrate that the property was purchased without the seller being under duress. If the seller can be proven to have been under duress, your evidence here will hold a lot less ground.

6. Look at Online Value Estimates

There are various online property value estimators. Zillow is one of the various options that you can use for getting an online value estimate. Although sources like these can definitely help you to appeal your home’s value assessment, these are usually best paired with other forms of evidence. In other words, don’t use online value estimates as your only piece of evidence if you want to have the best chance possible for winning your case.

7. Compile Data the Assessor May Not Have Had

There are literally hundreds of variables that can come into play when properly determining your property’s value. From small details such as the total number of rooms and the overall property size to smaller details such as recent home renovations, try to find data that the municipality assessor either skipped, missed, or didn’t even have access to. These are a great starting point for helping you get your petition approved.

8. Check for Errors in the Municipality Assessment

You wouldn’t be trying to appeal your property value assessment if you weren’t convinced that there was at least one error that will eventually force you to pay higher property tax levels. Therefore, compile each of the errors that you notice and formally list them. This way, you can easily reference this information later on when it comes time to formally appeal your property value assessment with your local municipality.

9. Have a Logical Case for Your Grievance

You shouldn’t depend on your ability to fool people into giving you an appeal for your property tax assessment. This is a recipe for complete disaster. Municipality officials are generally very smart and will pay closer attention to details during a tax grievance petition process. This is why you need to focus mostly on developing a logical case for your grievance that is based on facts and errors committed by the municipality assessor instead.

10. Remember that This is a Common Thing to Do

Many people, for whatever reason, start to feel bad about appealing their property tax assessment. They might see this as potentially unethical, morally wrong, and so on. In reality, doing this is a completely common and 100% legal thing to do. Therefore, you are simply upholding your rights as an American citizen and protecting yourself from potentially paying more than your fair share of property taxes.

11. Remember that You Are Challenging the Assessment, Not the Taxes

Clearly, your end goal of getting a property value assessment appealed is so that you can lessen the burden of property taxes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you are not ever going to actually challenge your total amount of property taxes. Instead, what you will be challenging is the assessment made by the municipality’s assessor. This is the data that you will need to be appealed if you hope to lower your property taxes.

12. Know Your Municipality’s Appeal Requirements

Typically, you will simply need to fill out a couple of forms and formally submit a letter of petition in order to kick-start the process for getting your appeal handled. However, this process can be different depending on which municipality you live in. Be sure to check with your local authorities to ensure that you know all the requirements for properly getting your appeal put into the system.

13. Complete Your Paperwork Properly

As you probably know, handling government paperwork can be a bit of a hassle. There can be lots of picky information that you need to include, details that you need to look up, and so on. However, it is important that you give this process the respect it deserves. Make sure you input all the correct information that you gathered during your research stage in order to

14. Formally Petition Your Property Assessment

Once you have all of your facts straight, the paperwork completed, and know the process for doing your petition, all you need to do now is go through the steps. Clearly, this is a process that you can do on your own. Once you formally submit your petition, simply wait for Grievance Day to pass. If successful, your adjusted value will be posted on your municipality’s Assessment Roll promptly.

15. Get Professional Assistance for Property Tax Grievance

Here at Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance Group, we specialize in helping our clients get their property assessment petitions approved in a timely and affordable manner in the Long Island area. We are so confident in our service that you won’t need to pay anything until your property tax grievance is approved. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

Why Do Property Taxes Go Up?

Why Do Property Taxes Go Up?

Property taxes fund schools, libraries, police and fire departments, along with public works such as roads, parks, and playgrounds. They’re essential to our communities – but that doesn’t make them any easier to pay. When you buy a home, you learn what the property taxes are in your area. However, when those rates start rising, it’s often difficult to understand why. When you’re holding a higher tax bill in your hand, it’s most likely one of the following reasons that are to blame for your property tax bill rise.

1- Property Revaluation

Predictably, municipalities do reevaluate the properties in their area at certain intervals. During this time, accessors, who are government officials, will go around and do their best to determine the true assessed value of the properties in their jurisdiction. This is to help ensure that the tax burden is correctly spread amongst the area’s homeowners. The assessor is only responsible for assessments – not taxes.

According to the NY State Department of Taxation and Finance, months after assessments are finalized by the assessor, taxing units (school districts, cities, towns, and counties) determine the amount of taxes that a taxing unit needs to collect from property owners, known as the tax levy. The property tax levy is determined separately from the assessments and is then distributed over all taxable assessments.

A home assessment doesn’t necessarily mean that your taxes will go up. For example, there may be a lot of new constructions in your community, which can help to offset any tax bill increase.

2- Home Improvement and Additions

Renovations are a common part of homeownership and revitalizing your home can add to its value. Unfortunately, however, that bathroom or more substantial kitchen renovation you just finished will most likely cause your property taxes to rise as well. Why? There’s a simple reason. Improving your home means it’s worth more. As your property taxes are based on the value of your home, when your home value increases, your property taxes will increase alongside.

Adding a second floor to a ranch home or an extension to the back of a colonial house will most likely increase that home’s property taxes. But anything that increases the square footage of the living space that you already have, such as finishing the attic, garage, or basement with sheetrock and adding heat and air conditioning, will likely trigger an automatic reassessment as well.

Building an additional bathroom is an improvement that will trigger a reassessment of a home. While replacing cabinets in your kitchen may not trigger an assessment, moving walls and adding cabinets and countertops may.

Even improvements to your property outside of your home can trigger an assessment. While above ground pools don’t tend to increase property values, inground pools do. Adding fences, sheds, patios, and decks can also increase your home value, causing corresponding property taxes to increase.

Before any home renovation, it might be worth running the numbers. Calculate how much the renovation will cost you, what it will add to your property’s value, and then figure out what the probable rise in your tax bill will be. Before you pull the trigger on your home renovation, decide if you can afford a higher property tax bill, or if the expense of the remodel will leave you with too short a cash flow to pay the higher rates. If you’re unsure, you might want to hold off and save up until you’re sure you have enough for a renovation and your new property taxes.

 

3 – Higher Home Sales in the Neighborhood

Home values are partially based on the value of other homes in the area – so keep track of what your neighbors are selling their homes for, not what they pay in taxes since what they pay can include exemptions.  If the homes in your neighborhood are selling for more than the asking price, it might be a sign that property taxes are soon to rise. Unfortunately, this type of tax increase is out of your hands.

4 – Building New Schools

New schools are important additions to the community – however, they’re also almost always a signal that a property tax hike is on the way. First off, new schools will attract new families as your community becomes a more desirable location. This will drive home prices up, and subsequently, property taxes.

New schools – at least, if they’re public – may also contribute to higher government budgets, as administrators, teachers, and school employees will need to be hired, and grounds will need to be maintained, which almost always indicates that a tax rise is on the way.

5 – Local Government Budget Increases

One of the principal reserves on which cities and counties draw to fund their budgets is the property tax. If budgetary needs increase, the residents’ taxes may need to be increased to help pay for it.

According to the Office of the NY State Comptroller, with some exceptions, the State’s Property Tax Cap limits the amount local governments, and most school districts can increase property taxes to the lower of two percent or the rate of inflation. In order to override the Tax Cap, local government boards must pass a local law or resolution by at least a 60 percent vote.

What should I do if I Think my Long Island Property Taxes are Too High?

So how can homeowners push back and lower their property tax rates? For starters, make sure your property records reflect your property accurately. Mistakes do happen. Some assessments list more bedrooms or bathrooms than you have in your home. If you do find mistakes, make sure to contact the tax assessor and have them corrected.

If you believe your property taxes are too high, you can file a tax grievance. A tax grievance professional can give you a good estimation of whether pursuing a tax grievance is a good idea or not, and that’s because they have a great sense of the tendencies in the local boards when evaluating various kinds of petitions. Hiring a respected tax grievance firm costs you nothing unless your property taxes are reduced.

Founded on the simple principle of helping our clients pay the lowest possible property taxes, Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance have saved Suffolk and Nassau residents over $35 MILLION, a figure that continues to increase daily.  Last year alone we saved our Nassau clients over $1.5M in property taxes…  Suffolk homeowners over $1.4M.

The Ins and Outs of Property Tax Deduction

The Ins and Outs of Property Tax Deduction

Curious How the Property Tax Deduction Works? Here’s a Guide to Help You Out.

The property tax deduction is one of many benefits of being a homeowner, although surprisingly, you don’t even need to own a home qualify for this tax break. Read on to find out more about the property tax deduction and how you can claim it on your tax return.

What’s deductible

Property tax deductions are available for property and real estate taxes you pay on your:

  • Primary home
  • Co-op apartment
  • Vacation homes
  • Land
  • Property outside the United States
  • Cars, RVs and other vehicles
  • Boat(s)

In 2018, the IRS announced a new limit on property tax deductions, allowing for of up to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately) to be deducted on a combination of property taxes and either state and local income taxes, or sales taxes.

What’s not deductible

The IRS doesn’t allow property tax deductions for:

  • Property taxes on property you don’t own
  • Property taxes you haven’t paid yet
  • Assessments for building streets, sidewalks, or water and sewer systems in your neighborhood. (Assessments or taxes for maintenance or repair of those things are deductible, though.)
  • The portion of your tax bill that’s actually for services — water or trash, for example
  • Transfer taxes on the sale of a house
  • Homeowners association assessments
  • Payments on loans that finance energy-saving home improvements. (The interest portion of your payment might be deductible as home mortgage interest, however.)
  • More than $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately) for a combination of property taxes and either state and local income taxes or sales taxes.

How to take the property tax deduction

Start by finding your tax records – your local taxing authority should be able to give you a copy of the tax bill for your home. Meanwhile, scrutinize the registration paperwork on your car, RV, boat or other movable assets, as might be paying property taxes on those as well.

Exclude any taxes that the IRS won’t count. For example, you can deduct a property tax only if it’s assessed at a similar rate as other like properties in the community. The proceeds have to help the community, not pay for a special privilege or service for you.

Use Schedule A when you file your return – that’s where you’ll figure your deduction. Note: This means you’ll need to itemize your taxes instead of taking the standard deduction. It’ll probably take more time to do your taxes if you itemize, but you will likely leave you with a lower tax bill.

Deduct your property taxes in the year you pay them. Sounds simple, but it can be tricky, as there are two ways people typically pay property taxes on a house. Either you’ll write a check once or twice a year when the bill comes – simple and straightforward; or, you may set aside money each month in an escrow account when they pay the mortgage. If you’re paying your property taxes using the second method, you’ll need to stay organized, so you’re only deducting the actual tax paid that year, not all the money in escrow.

Special Circumstances

If you bought or sold your house this year: If you owned a taxable property for part of the year before selling it, you can usually deduct the taxes attributable to the time you owned the property. So, if you sold your house in July, you would deduct the first half of the year’s property taxes on the house, and the buyer would deduct the second half.

Renters: Renters might qualify for a property tax deduction on their state taxes.

How to get a bigger property tax deduction

  1. Prepay your property taxes. If your semiannual tax bill is due next April but you pay it early — say, this December — you can deduct it this year instead of next year.
  2. Save your registration statements. When it’s time to renew your registration on a vehicle, check if any part of the fee is actually property tax. There could be a tax deduction hiding in there.
  3. Scrutinize your closing paperwork. If you bought or sold a house, go back and look at what you paid at closing for property taxes. After the tax assessor has a chance to revalue the property, you might get a second tax bill.

Nassau County 2020-21 Reassessment Tax Impact Notice

Nassau County 2020-21 Reassessment Tax Impact Notice

These are confusing times to be a Nassau County taxpayer. Recently you may have received a 2020-21 “Tax Impact Letter” regarding your home’s new assessed value and corresponding tax liability.

The Tax Impact Notices are designed to illustrate how your property taxes will change once the new assessment is in place. In actuality, the notice is based on the 2017/18 tax rates making the estimate suspect at best, completely misleading at best.

I believe the notices should have have been based instead on the school and county budgets taking into account the massive tax rate increase that will be necessary to accommodate the new ratio of .10. Part of the County Executive’s plan is to bypass New York State’s longstanding law of increasing your assessment by no more than 6% per year. This will have disastrous consequences for many Nassau homeowners. My hope is that Ms. Curran will rethink think this proposal.

One thing is clear, the tax rate for many neighborhoods is going to increase substantially if Nassau moves forward with its current plan. This will be especially true without the proposed 5-year phase-in, should the NYS Legislature decide not to pass the proposed law to make the phase-in possible. In fact, this bill has yet to be even introduced to the NYS Legislature.

I strongly advise all Nassau homeowners to file a tax grievance application for the 2020-21 tax year before this year’s April 30, 2019 filing deadline. 

Bottom line, Nassau Homeowners will not know the full extent of the countywide reassessment until October 1, 2020 far after April 30, 2019, legal filing deadline has passed.

If you would like to submit an application for us to grieve your 2020-21 tax year, legal filing deadline April 30, 2019, simply click the orange “Apply Today” button below.

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at (516) 342-4849.

Regards,

Adam B Heller
President & CEO
Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance LLC

 

Grieve your 2020-21 property taxes now before April 30, 2019, legal Deadline

Remember NO REDUCTION=NO FEE

Nassau County 2020-21 Re-assessment & How It Affects You

Nassau County 2020-21 Re-assessment & How It Affects You

These are confusing times to be a Nassau County taxpayer.  Recently you may have received a 2020-21 “Assessment Disclosure Notice” regarding the county’s recent reassessment from Nassau County Department of Assessment.

The letter you received pertains to the 2020-21 tax year, these tax bills are not released until October 1, 2020 (School)/January 2, 2021 (General).  It is impossible to project the actual effect the reassessment will have on you or any homeowner in Nassau County in these early stages, we won’t really have all the pieces to the puzzle until the 2020-21 tax rates are released.  One thing is clear, the tax rate for many neighborhoods is going to increase substantially if Nassau moves forward with its current plan.  This will be especially true without the proposed 5-year phase-in, should the NYS Legislature decide not to pass the proposed law to make the phase-in possible.

We strongly advise all Nassau homeowners to file a tax grievance application.

Bottom line, Nassau Homeowner’s will not know the full extent of the countywide reassessment until October 1, 2020.

(To print this article, Click HERE.)

Remember NO REDUCTION=NO FEE

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