The Carry Forward policy in Nassau County allows property owners to enjoy annual tax reductions continuously.
Nassau’s Assessment Review Commission gives settlement offers to people who appeal against the tax assessment on their houses. Those who repeat the appeal every year get reductions that are automatically carried forward in the group of people who negotiate for reductions each year.
However the gravy train is halted in case the property is to be sold or the owner makes an application for a permit when building or when, in addition to other issues, the property owner misses an appeal.
While the group getting reductions continue moving ahead, the homeowner together with the annual automatic reduction remains behind.
A Sunday report in the Newsday newspaper reviewed Nassau’s Carry Forward policy and declared that it was as discriminatory as the whole assessment system in the county.
In the first place, the normal property owner who got a settlement during the initial year of the assessment system reforms carried out by Edward Mangano (Republican County Executive) in 2010 and then filed successive annual appeals up to 2015 eventually saved 20% of the taxes they could have been required to pay during that period.
In case the homeowner dropped from the Carry Forward group at least one time during that time, the tax reduction came to 17 %.
On the other hand, homeowners who postponed filing their annual appeals after the year 2010 did not enjoy the full benefits that came with the automatic reductions.
But let us assume that all homeowners accepted settlements from the commission from 2010 and that in addition, they wished to make sure that they did not drop from the Carry Forward group.
Was it possible to do that?
According to the report on Newsday, the answer to this question is no because the commission did not publicize the basis for remaining in the group and, equally important, the acts that could lead to the disqualification of a home from the tax assessment policy.
It was therefore not possible for the owner of a house to be aware that simple actions such as selling or listing a property, applying to get a permit when building or missing an assessment appeal would ultimately affect potential reductions.
That is unjust and unfair.
From the time that the assessment overhaul launched by Mangano got underway in 2010, taxes amounting to $1.7 billion have been moved from homeowners who contested their assessment to those individuals who did not. The end result of this has been the creation of two separate and unequal tax systems.
Next January, Laura Curran, a Democrat, will be the new county executive and she will need to craft a solution to the problem. Throughout the campaign, Curran frequently stated she would engage a properly-qualified assessor to take the place of the acting assessor appointed by Mangano.
Long Island’s school spending may increase to an average of 2.35% for the 2017 – 2018 school years, with school increasing by up to 1.73% more compared to the 2017’s current hikes, yet only within state tax-cap restrictions for the large majority of districts.
According to the state Education Department, specifically from the figures, they released last Wednesday, it seems that budgeted spending may increase by about 2.36% in Nassau County and by about 2.33% in Suffolk County.
In Nassau, tax levies are said to increase by 1.37% & by 2.10% in Suffolk. Every year the Education Department colts report from approximately seven hundred districts across the state, including one hundred and twenty-one in the 2-county region.
At this point school budgets are proposals and they’ll be submitted to voters on May 16th. Currently, there’s only a single school district in New Suffolk that announced its intention of overriding the state-imposed tax cap. By law, this means that 60% of the votes need to be in favor of the new budget.
The New Suffolk spending plan will increase its tax levy by six point five percent in 2018, which is almost double the current three-point four percent limit. Proposing such an increase though is not that simple and school officials are still thinking about it. However, in part they do agree to it given the fact there’s been an unforeseen increase in tuition costs.
The district operates just 1 elementary school. When it comes to its older students from grades 7 through twelve, they’re sent on a tuition basis nearby Southold. This year though it seems that 4 new high school age students moved into the county, which is a very large increase for a system of approximately twenty-five students.
On top of that, the county received 2 new students (elementary age) who don’t speak too much English. As such, it’s the district’s duty to pay for language instruction classes so that the new students can learn how to speak proper English. The good news is that there are also plenty of certified teachers who can work with such students and help them integrate better.
For a full year, the total costs amount to about $20,000. When you think about it, this is a very large hit, said the president of the new Suffolk school board, Tony Dill.
In an effort to reduce costs as much as possible, 2 local teachers are currently being certified so they can work with students that do not speak English.
1 district in Suffolk and 5 districts in Nassau are cutting taxes. This includes Valley Stream thirty which currently has the highest project levy minimization: 15.7 % (onetime cut).
According to local school leaders, the cuts will fulfill their promise to make payments made by property owners in lieu of PILOTs (taxes payments) in order to lower the levy for this year and the next. It’s important to mention that their promise only covers the taxes payments that exceeded budgeted removes in 2017.
The administrators of Valley Stream said they wish local homeowners will get some property tax relief thanks to the levy’s decrease, yet they’re not really sure about whether this will be the case due to the various complexities (not under their control) of Nassau’s tax system.
One example of such complexities lies in the fact that there are 4 classes of taxable property in Nassau. Also, the burden associated with each class, regardless of if we’re talking about residential or commercial properties, changes on a yearly basis. Another problem is the fact that the largest PILOT payments are currently made by the Green Acres and they’re presently under fire due to legal disputes.
Because of these issues, the school officials said that they are not sure whether the state will receive the same payments as it did in the past. Furthermore, if there are any solutions to the problem, they’re going to be up to different government entities, such as the Industrial Development Agency, Hempstead Town, and the county.
“Currently, there are many questions asked, but very few answers, said Valley Stream school districts superintendent”, Mr. Nicholas Stirling.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano received a warning Last July that in 2017 the popular tax cut which averaged one hundred and sixty-six dollars would no longer be applied.
Even though he was warned about it, Mangano failed to inform about 44 thousand senior citizens who did get the abatement concerning the end of the tax break program. They were completely taken by surprise when they got their general tax bills last month.
The county’s comptroller, including the lawmakers, says that they weren’t informed about the expiration of the abatement.
After many complaints were filed, the state and county lawmakers struggled to extend the abatement by introducing legislation that was enacted back in ’02 to offset a nineteen point three percent increase in county property tax. Homeowners who are at least sixty five years old and make less than eighty-six thousand dollars per annum would qualify for the tax break, which exclusively applied to county taxes.
In an E-mail copy obtained by Newsday, Roseann Dalleva, who is a Budget Director and Lisa LoCurto, who is the Chief Deputy County Attorney for Mangano, stated that they received notification about the abatement’s expiration on July twenty-first, 2016. The E-mail requested guidance for the preparation of the ’17 budget. The E-mail was confirmed by 2 other county sources and said that it came from the assessment department.
On January 19th, a Freedom of Information request was submitted by Newsday, asking for all the E-mails Dalleva and LoCurto exchanged between May and July regarding the abatement. The E-mails were not provided by the Mangano administration, but they did say last week that a reply will be provided to Newsday in approximately thirty days.
One of Mangano’s spokesmen, who are actually involved in a corruption case, said that the County Executive never received information about the expiration of the abatement. He continued to say that the E-mail date referenced is after the completion of the State Legislature’s session last year and it’s too late to impact the situation in 2016. The most important piece of news for the residents though is that the State is addressing the situation.
On Friday, the Democratic Nassau legislator, Laura Curran who is also running for county executive, said that taxpayers are extremely unhappy about county execs who cannot properly run the county. Seniors needed to be informed about this.
The spokeswoman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, Cristina Brennan, said that the Republican staff and legislators weren’t informed about the expiration of the abatement as well.
Another runner-up for county executive, Comptroller George Maragos, said on Friday that this was all done in secret without notifying the seniors in any way. He continued to say that the whole thing is even more disturbing since the county exec was also not notified about it.
Assemb. Charles Lavine, who plans on running for county exec, said he is truly disappointed of the whole situation and said that the Mangano administration should have at least been forthcoming about this and inform its citizens about the change.
Mangano keeps mum about whether he’ll run again this year
On January the 23rd at the most recent Mangano administration meeting, Curran questioned it when lawmakers voted to request that the state puts an extension on the tax break. Even so, she received no answers.
Was the administration aware at any point during the budgeting process that the abatement will expire? Curran asked.
Former Legis. Fran Becker and Mangano liaison said that the county exec agrees with the abatement’s extension, yet no one was sent yet to talk about this.
This caused Curran to ask whether anyone in the administration knew about this during the budget process. Becker swiftly replied that no one knew about it.
Curran continued to say that since people will vote on this, it’s necessary that we have a good answer. Becker’s reply was to ask Curran to repeat the question.
Anyone who wishes to appeal their property bill needs to first of all carefully read their real estate assessment. You can actually reduce your property tax bill and the best way to do that is to appeal the value that your home was assigned by the taxman. It’s this value that’s used for calculating the amount of tax you owe.
If you want to reduce your property tax, then you first of all need to show that your home’s value is lower than the value assessed by the taxman. To do the initial research, you can call your real estate agent or do some quick online research. If you do indeed find out that your property’s value was assessed to be higher than it actually is, then the appeal process can take months.
Read the Assessment Letter
The real estate tax is regularly assessed by the local government. When you receive the letter about it in the mail, it will contain info about your property, such as its assessed value (including that of your land), legal description, but also lot size.
To calculate your property tax bill, you need to multiply your local tax rate with your property’s assessed value.
If you discover that the value of your home is higher than it should be, be sure to challenge it right away. The process should take thirty days or less.
To challenge your assessment, be sure to consider the following steps:
1.Think about Whether an Appeal Is Something You Want To Go Forward With
The stakes are what determine the amount of effort you want to put into a challenge.
If you can lower your property’s assessed value by fifteen percent then your tax bill should go down approximately 15% as well.
In Suffolk County NY, the tax rates are about four percent of a property’s assessed value, in Nassau County rates are about eleven percent meaning that the savings potential is higher. The same goes for communities where property prices are above the median.
2. Verify the Data
Check the data for your home and make sure it’s correct. This includes the size of the lot, number of fireplaces, bathrooms, etc. If you find anything wrong, challenge it right away.
3. Get the Comps
Speak to a realtor to learn more about 3 to 5 properties that were recently sold. You may also want to head over to realtor.com to check the value of similar properties to yours in terms of location, condition, style, and size. If you want, you can spend anywhere between three hundred and fifty to six hundred dollars to hire an appraiser and receive a professional opinion about your property’s value.
Once you find comps, verify their assessments. If your local government has no data on them, hire a real estate agent to help you learn more about this. If you discover that the assessments on your comp are lower, you can then argue that yours is higher than it should be.
You can have a case for relief based on equity if you can prove that the comparable properties are better than yours. For instance, it could be that while you were trying to clean up water damage, your neighbor added an addition to their home. In this case, the properties aren’t comparable anymore.
4. Present your Case
Ring your local assessor’s office and see what they have to say about your case. If you’re not happy with their answer, you may request a formal review. Fill out any necessary forms and pay attention to procedures and deadlines. A review may take between 30 and 90 days and usually does not require you to appear in person. Once a decision is taken, you’ll receive it in writing.
5.If You Don’t Like the Review, Be Sure To Appeal It
The decision can be appealed to NYS Supreme Court, Small Claims Assessment Review Division, SCAR for short, and you don’t have to actually hire a tax grievance company to do so. A filing fee may have to be paid (Thirty dollars). Keep in mind that this process may take up to one and a half years. Luckily, homeowners win (more than 50% of the tax appeals in Nassau and Suffolk Counties).
While weighing the appeal, consider the following:
Only your real estate assessment can be reduced and not the rate you’re taxed at.
Under NYS law your assessment can not be raised.
The sale price (if you plan on selling your home) may be negatively impacted if your assessment is reduced before putting your home up for sale.
If you want to save money, then you should learn more about whether you qualify for property tax exemptions based on factors such as military service, disability, age, etc. Your local assessor can handle these type of requests as well.
When it comes to commercial property taxes (CPTs), they are not only about due dates. In fact, there are many businesses that view these taxes as a fixed cost. On a yearly basis you get a bill, you pay it and then you move on. If you wish, this is very much like a truly fixed cost, such as your building’s mortgage or your employee’s salary.
The truth though is that things can be different!
In fact, your CPTs are a variable cost of business. If you want, then you can view them like your water bill: it’s never the same.
The good news is that you can actually challenge and eventually negotiate your CPTs. To make things even better for you, you should know that the law is also on your side with this.
Bear in mind that CPTs are some of the largest costs of occupying commercial real estate, so anyone (if they could) would want to lower them if possible. By lowering these taxes, you’ll get to save quite a bit of money at the end of the year.
While the process of doing so is time-consuming and may require a bit of work, in the end, you’ll be rewarded for your effort. Once you get the money you saved in your bank account, you’re free to use it to pay for operating costs or invest it into your business.
Paying CPTs needs to be regarded as a business decision and not an item that just has to be added to the accounts payable list.
Below we’ll take a closer look at the top 5 tips you can use to reduce your CPTs for both personal property and real estate.
1.Learn more about how much you pay in property taxes per annum:
If you have a corporate portfolio that you’re responsible for (with many properties), then it’s understandable that you may not know exactly how much they’re paying in CPTs per annum. No matter how much they may be paying, it’s important that you pay close attention to the cost and find ways to reduce it by using property tax appeals.
For example, if you have to pay 100 thousand dollars per annum in property taxes, then maybe you can save money through information negotiation instead of considering an appeals process. On the other hand, if you’re paying 1 million dollars a year, then this can be a whole different story.
2. Avoid extra fees by paying on time:
Property taxes can also be paid in installments in bothNassau & Suffolk Counties as well as most of New York State. While this is great, there is also an extra cost applied to staggering property tax payments in the instances when you pay your tax bills late, penalties can accrue quickly.
3. Make the most of the appeals process:
When it comes to NYS CPT appeals, each taxing jurisdiction has its own requirements for it. Generally speaking commercial property tax appeals, or Certiortari, do take 2-3 years. Good news is that in most cases your municipality will be responsible for refunding your overpayments back to the first year of filing.
4.Speak to your local assessor:
Get to know your local property tax assessor and be sure to attend any meetings prepared. Learn as much as you can about the property, the way other properties in the same jurisdiction are assessed, the value of your properties, their square footage, value, type, but also the date of acquisition and purchase price.
5. Do your homework:
Be prepared to back up your claim that your commercial building is overassessed. This should include a recent commercial appraisal, income & expense reports and any external factors which reduce the value of your building.
To have a very productive talk with your assessor, you should also know more about:
The right capitalization rate for your property type, occupancy, and location.
The amount of money required to operate your building per annum in both variable and fixed costs.
Average rental cost in the property’s jurisdiction.
The amount of money similar properties was sold for in the same jurisdiction.
If you want, then you should hire an expert or consultant so they can properly evaluate your property’s status. Professional property tax consultants have the experience, but also the time to help you get the best tax returns on your investments. Most tax grievance firms charge 25%-35% of your savings and no money at all unless they reduce your commercial properties tax bill.
A lot of people think that the process of filing their property tax grievance is very difficult, yet that’s not true. All you have to do is research a bit about it, fill out a form and after that, you just have to write a supporting letter. Once you take these steps, all you need to do is submit these papers by the deadline imposed by your municipality. Below we’ll tell you more about this process.
Understanding The Property Tax Grievance Process
In some cases, people believe that it’s their assessor who sets their property taxes, yet that’s not true. In fact, the role of the assessor is to determine your property’s market value by doing a comparable sales analysis similar to that of an appraiser or real estate agent when you plan to sell or buy a house.
Once the market value is determined, the assessor will calculate your assessed value by multiplying the value by a preset UPV that is set by your state. The purpose of the UPV is useful for the purpose of providing people a standardized assessment calculation that guarantees each property eventually receives a proper and equitable assessment. For instance, if your UPV is forty percent and your property’s market value is 500 thousand dollars, then your assessed value is 200 thousand dollars. If you have a neighbor and he has a property with a market value of 400 thousand dollars, then his assessed value will be 160 thousand dollars.
The Assessment Roll
Once the assessed value of all properties in a municipality has been determined, a roll will be published by the Assessors Office. This is practically a list that contains information about all the properties in the municipality (such as market value, assessed value, etc). In most municipalities, the roll is published in May (in the first week), ahead of the date the grievance applications are due. If you want to get the roll, you can go online or visit your local municipality. For links to your local roll publication, you may want to check www.randrealty.com.
The roll is very useful because once the property owners see their property’s assessed value (as calculated by the assessors), they can start preparing their grievances. Keep in mind that the roll doesn’t contain info about your property taxes, but only the property’s assessed value and its market value. These numbers will be used to calculate your taxes.
Researching Grounds for a Grievance
After the assessor has calculated your property’s market value, if you need to, then you can file a complaint about it. A property owner is able to make 4 separate claims for a grievance and this includes scenarios where his property has not been classified properly (for instance the property is residential, not commercial) or exempt from taxation (for instance, it’s a school or a church).
In general, though, people will file grievances because their property is subject to an Unequal Assessment due to the fact that people in their area who own similar homes have received a lower assessment. As a result, their taxes will be lower.
An Unequal Assessment claim is basically a claim in which you argue that your property’s market value is higher than the value the assessor calculated. To prove your claim, you have to prove that your home’s market value is lower than that of what the assessor calculated. After reviewing your property’s market value you realize that your property’s value is lower than what the assessor calculated, then you have grounds to file a grievance petition.
Your municipality establishes the deadlines by which you can file a grievance petition, so be sure to abide by them. In most of the Hudson Valley, this is called Grievance Day. On this day a BAR will meet to evaluate the grievance petitions. They’ll also hold an open hearing, meaning that you can present your case in front of them.
To grieve your property taxes, you just have to submit 2 documents when filing the petition. The first one is form RP-524 or the Complaint on Real Property Assessment.
The second file is a letter of support. There are no standards as to what the letter should contain, but you should address the BAR in it (for your particular municipality) and briefly explain why you believe your property has been overassessed. Along with the letter, you can also attach supporting documents, including public records, comparative market analysis from a real estate agent, an appraisal, etc.
In the petition, you need to mention the relief you want. In this case, you want your property’s market value to the reduced to a level you’re happy with. Try to ask for as much relief as you think you deserve to get.
You don’t necessarily need to attend the Grievance Day hearing. Even if you’re absent, a swift decision will be taken by the BAR after they carefully read your petition.
If your grievance complaint isn’t successful, which is often the case, or it was, but you failed to get the relief you asked for, then this decision can be appealed in a Supreme Court trial or in what’s known as a SCAR(Small Claims Assessment Review).
As you can see, if you want to grieve your taxes, then the process is nowhere as difficult as you think. All you have to do is keep an eye on what’s happening in your local community, carefully review the assessment role and finally file your complaint and add any supporting documents along with it. All of this needs to be done by Grievance Day. If you don’t have the time to do this or maybe have other reasons for why you don’t want to personally consider it, then you may want to hire a property tax grievance company to do it on your behalf. Property tax firms that handle such cases usually charge anywhere between forty to fifty percent of the first year’s savings on your taxes. Also, bear in mind that they will only charge you the fee if they’re successful. If you’re not successful though, then you will still require a tax grievance firm to appeal the BAR decision.