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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
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.

New York’s STAR Rebate Program Undergoes Changes

New York’s STAR Rebate Program Undergoes Changes

Two new measures were approved by the New York State legislature that will change the way the Star Rebate Program works.

Part 1: Homeowners earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year will get a check for their STAR rebates this year, rather than receiving the savings directly in their school-tax bills.

Part 2: Any STAR recipient that doesn’t switch to a check will miss out on the two percent increase in their tax savings this fall.

The changes won’t impact eligibility – just whether homeowners receive the rebates in a check or in their school-tax bills, and not everyone will feel the change.

Those who owned their homes before Aug. 1, 2015, and earn less than $250,000 a year, will still get the STAR savings in their tax bills unless they opt for the check.

If property owners want to switch to the STAR credit program, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance suggests that they register as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks prior to the date when the final assessment roll is published.

A spokesperson for the tax department said the system is working well and that homeowners should feel confident they will get the checks prior to when their school taxes are due.

Last year, the agency said it issued 99.5% of STAR credit checks prior to the school tax bill due date.

What’s STAR?

The School Tax Relief (STAR) program is a property tax rebate program available to New Yorkers whose household income is $500,000 or less – only primary residences are eligible. Around 2.6 million homeowners in New York receive the STAR tax break, which averages to around $790 per year per household.

The tax break is part of a $3 billion program that started in the mid-1990s, which helps New Yorkers curb the impact of having among the highest school taxes in the nation.

Why the Changes?

Under the previous system, schools give homeowners the STAR savings and then get reimbursed by the state — which showed up as a budget expense for the state. The new system gives the savings directly to the homeowners in a check, so it counts as a “personal income tax credit,” and shows up in the state budget as a reduction in tax revenue – not as state spending.

That change is sizable for the state’s finances. The new system is estimated to lower spending by $238 million in the fiscal year. Plus, capping the growth in the program for those who don’t get a check is another potential money-saver for the state.

Critics have asserted that the STAR program’s alterations have created falsities in the state’s budget by changing how the program functions, from a homeowner’s property tax discount to a state-issued ‘personal income tax credit’ that is issued as a check. According to an article in lohud. the Director of State Studies for the Citizens Budget Commission, David Friedfel asserts “the state is able to artificially make state spending appear lower than it is.”

The state defended the changes, however, saying it will help cut out fraud in the program and streamline payments. The goal of the changes, as explained by Freeman Klopott, spokesman for the state Budget Division, is to transfer people to the credit program, which is more efficiently administered. This will help to prevent abuse of the system. It will also separate the STAR savings from the tax bill, making districts more accountable to taxpayers.

What About Mortgage Escrows?

The changes will impact homeowners who pay their taxes through a mortgage escrow because they will pay more per month to cover the taxes, and then have to wait for reimbursement through the STAR check.

Are Seniors Affected?

Senior citizens who get Enhanced STAR are not impacted by the changes and will still get the savings upfront on their tax bills although those receiving Enhanced STAR will now have to enroll in an income-verification program to get the rebate. Enhanced STAR is available to homeowners age 65 and older with incomes of $86,300 or less. This program benefits 665,000 seniors and averages $1,400 a year.

For more information on the STAR program or to register, please visit https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm.

What to Do if You Received a Nassau County Tax Impact Notice?

What to Do if You Received a Nassau County Tax Impact Notice?

Nassau County homeowners are experiencing an increase of irritation and skepticism amidst receiving tax impact statements both in their mailboxes and online. These property reassessments, made by the county, detail possible increases in property value for over 50% of homeowners.

Sent out November 1st, tax notices revealed the new assessments to all county residents. Estimated tax bills were also published online on November 20th. These property tax changes are expected to take effect in 2020-2021.

The uproar over the property tax increase has been tremendous – residents have been contacting county officials in the assessment department since 2010 and county meetings open to the public have become filled with concerned residents. The Nassau County website has also hit 11 million in views November, nearly doubling the view count from October.

Due to failed attempts to fix over-assessments by the counties, numerous tax grievances have been settled. These settlements have caused homeowners, who have not filed tax grievances, to bear the weight of the property tax issue.

Legislator Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore) stated that residents feel “betrayed” and that homeowners have “been encouraged to participate in the grievance process”. Rhoads went on to say that property owners feel “as though they’re being punished for doing what the system was set up to tell them to do”.

Democrat County Executive Laura Curran, who encouraged the reassessment process of the counties homes, states she has found support with many of Nassau’s residents. The County Executive says that the reassessment will help the county decrease the amount of borrowing it needs to do in order to keep up with the successful tax challenges in court.

Toward the end of 2017, Nassau’s tax liability measured in at a whopping $569 million. In order to ease this financial responsibility, the county plans on borrowing upwards of $300 million dollars. Curran states that without the reassessment, the county will get “deeper into debt”, which the entire county will then have to appease.

Curran lowered the level of assessment from .25 to .1 percent starting in September. Controversy has risen over this recent change of market value used to calculate tax costs for homeowners.

According to county-provided data, Curran’s reassessment program is expected to see a tax increase for 52% of homeowners and a decrease for 48% of homeowners. With these changes, upwards of 11,000 residents will have increases of more than $5,000, while approximately 39,000 residents will see an increase of around $3,000.

A potential hike in property taxes could mean trouble for the housing market in the counties affected. Potential homebuyers factor in costs associated with buying property, including its yearly taxes. A higher tax rate could deter potential buyers from both personal and commercial property in Nassau.

With the negative responses stemming from impending tax increases, Nassau County Assessor David Moog has sent four new tax specialists to meet with residents and address their concerns. The offices have experienced quite a bit of traffic – 14,000 residents have either called or emailed and 4,000 people have physically visited the locations.

Meris Davis, a tax specialist working in one of the offices, said that her experience with resident feedback has been positive. She states that homeowners leave the office feeling informed, not with “the wool pulled over their eyes”.

Nassau County is showing residents the new market values of their properties. The reassessment notices also show the homeowners their 2017-18 taxes and tentative 2020-21 taxes.

Moog states that more homeowners will see their homes market value rise, after many years of fixed assessments. According to the County Assessor, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the property taxes will rise, as well. He states that residents that continually filed for tax grievances throughout recent years will face the largest increase.

Bottom line, we have interviewed hundreds of Nassau homeowners and commercial property owners who have attended meetings at one of the many Nassau Assessment satellite offices regarding the tax impact notices that they have received.  What are those property owners advised to do by Nassau Assessor’s Office you ask?   They are advised to file a tax grievance.

 

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 homes 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 years April 30, 2019 filing deadline.

Bottom line, Nassau Homeowner’s 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 for the 2020-21 tax year before the April 30, 2019 filing deadline.

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

(To print this article, Click HERE.)

 

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

Remember NO REDUCTION=NO FEE

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