You can undoubtedly file your Suffolk or Nassau County tax grievance by yourself. You only need to be able to research your property’s market value, fill out a Grievance petition, submit it to your assessor’s board, and most likely appear in a court appeal hearing. That said, we recommend that you retain a tax grievance firm to represent you in the matter. It’s not absolutely necessary, but in our experience firms have a better track record of successfully grieving taxes than homeowners who do it themselves. Consequently, here are five reasons we think that you should hire a firm to file your Long Island tax grievance.
1. It costs you nothing unless your property taxes are reduced
Most Long Island firms will represent you in a tax grievance filing in return for a fee amounting to 50% of the first year’s tax savings. That’s a pretty good deal for you. You don’t have to pay anything if they’re not successful, and your firm has every incentive to maximize the tax savings you can get. Even if they’re successful, you’ll get the benefit of the reduced assessment for many years, and only have to pay the firm a portion of the first year’s worth of savings. But we do not recommend hiring any company that charges an upfront fee, or collects a fee higher than 50% of one year’s tax savings.
2. Tax Grievance companies are experts at establishing market value.
One of the most challenging areas of filing the grievance is establishing market value. You can get help from a local Real Estate agent in finding comparable properties, but firm’s have access not only to that information but to public records that might contain property sales that were not recorded through the local multiple listing systems. Further, a firm can give you a good evaluation of whether it’s worthwhile even to pursue your tax grievance, since experienced property tax consultants tend to have their finger on the pulse as to local board’s tendencies when evaluating different types of petitions.
3. Tax Grievance firms are familiar with the Grievance hearing process.
The grievance process can be confusing for a homeowner, and an experienced specialist is almost certainly going to be more proficient at explaining your case. Think about it, tax grievance firm’s deal with these cases all day, every day, therefore, are highly adept when it comes to winning cases.
4. Grieving your taxes can be time consuming.
The reason firms charge a fee for handling tax grievances is that the process can take a long time, especially in Suffolk and Nassau counties. First there’s the research, then filling out the forms, finally preparing to attend a court hearing in front of a judge. All of this is manageable, but it does take time and effort. If you do not think that you could get all the work done in time for the grievance deadlines, you should hire a specialist who will make sure it gets done.
5. Most cases are denied at the local level and must be appealed in court.
Finally, hiring a tax grievance firm to handle the process can help if you are not successful at the initial local level (9 out of 10 are not!). Since the firm will handle the court appeal hearings that you will likely have to pursue. You definitely will want a firm to handle the appeal, so retaining a specialist to represent you in the initial administrative hearing before the board ensures that your firm will be familiar with your home’s facts, putting them in a better position to argue and ultimately win you a maximum property tax reduction. In addition to this, cases are heard Monday through Friday from 9:30 am-3 pm so you may have to miss a day of work in order to be present.