For those living on Long Island, property taxes may already account for their highest house-related expense. According to tax-rates.org, the average yearly property tax paid by Nassau County residents amounts to about 8.26% of their annual income. And in Suffolk County, it amounts to about 7.57% of their yearly income. When property taxes go up, this adds more of a financial burden for many who own a home in Nassau County or Suffolk County.
Let’s take a look at more stats from tax-rates.org. Nassau County has one of the highest median property taxes in the U.S. and is ranked 2nd of the 3,143 counties in the U.S. in order of median property taxes. Suffolk County comes in at number 12 in order of median property taxes.
There are many advantages to living on Long Island, including the closeness to NYC and all it offers for work and cultural opportunities. And Long Islanders have access to many beautiful beaches on the Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. But high property taxes are a constant concern for homeowners. However, there is a way to reduce your tax burden and make living in your Long Island home more affordable. It’s filing a tax grievance every year.
How did property taxes come to be?
Property taxes date back to colonial times in the U.S. By the late 1790s, 14 of the 15 states taxed land, with four also taxing inventory (i.e., livestock). Delaware was the one state that did not tax property by instead the income from it. States had different definitions of what could be taxed. Some would tax quantity, others quality. Some would tax all of the property, and some would tax specific objects. By the end of the Civil War, many state constitutions had adopted that property taxes be more uniform and assessed based on value.
Today, property tax is based on your municipality’s tax rate, as well as your property value. Your school district (which accounts for two-thirds of property tax levy) and other tax districts set annual budgets. Your share of the taxes that will be raised for school and general municipal purposes like renovating school buildings, adding school programs, building roads, or hiring police in your community is based on an annual property assessment. The more your home is worth, the higher your taxes will be.
Is it really possible to get my taxes lowered?
If you never grieve your taxes, your tax bills will most likely never go down, only up. For your tax bill to not go up, you need to have your assessment lowered. The way to do that is to file a property tax grievance. And yes, you can file a tax grievance every year. A property tax grievance is a formal complaint filed contesting a town’s assessed value of a specific property. After you file a tax grievance, the local BAR (Board of Assessment Review in Suffolk) or ARC (Assessment Review Commission in Nassau) will review your assessment to see if a reduction is justified. If the BAR or ARC denies your grievance, you can file an appeal in the NYS Supreme Court, SCAR division within a 30-day time frame to determine if your house is overvalued for tax purposes.
Will I get penalized if I grieve my property taxes every year?
The important thing to know is that your assessment will never increase because you file a tax grievance every year. That’s the law in the state of New York. There is no disadvantage to grieving your taxes every year, but you may or may not get a reduction. But just because you may not get a reduction one tax year doesn’t mean you can’t get a decrease the following year. And reductions can and do happen multiple years in a row.
Grieving Your Taxes is Easier with the Help of a Tax Grievance Company
You can file a tax grievance on your own, but there is an easier way.
Hiring an experienced tax grievance specialist provides you with the knowledge necessary to win your tax grievance case. It’s worth it to make sure you get the best representation possible. Without the training and education of a tax professional, you may not get your desired outcome. When it comes to filing a tax grievance, there is legal terminology involved. If misunderstood, it can lead to incorrectly filing, missing deadlines, and not having the upper hand with local court systems. At Heller and Associates, we have extensive experience filing grievances in Nassau County and Suffolk County and have saved homeowners thousands of dollars each year since 2007. We have many clients who grieve their taxes every year.
Whether you Stay or Plan to Go – Grieving your Taxes is a Good Idea.
If you are thinking about selling your home in a year or two, you may think, why should I bother grieving my taxes? Because lower taxes make your property more marketable. Taxes are a significant consideration for people who are in the market for a new home. If your property taxes are higher than others in your neighborhood, prospective buyers may overlook your property and search for other properties with lower taxes.
Get Help Filing Your Tax Grievance
If you are in Suffolk or Nassau County in Long Island and need assistance in appealing your property’s value and getting a better rate on your property taxes, give us a call in Nassau County: (516) 342-4849 or Suffolk County: (631) 302-1940. We will explain everything involved and not charge you a penny until we secure you a lower tax rate.