How to Cut Your Property Tax In New York

How to Cut Your Property Tax In New York

Ok, good evening everybody. What I want to review tonight is my own direct
experience with real estate taxes and making a change on my assessed valuation of my home. So I am fortunate enough to own a home it
happens to be in Westchester County, which is in New York State, which is the highest
real estate taxed county in the United States of America. Westchester County is #1 and Rockland County
is #2 and I live in the Town of Pelham which has 2 separate taxing authorities, the Town
of Pelham and the Village of Pelham as well as the school district, so I get big tax bills
like everybody else and one day I received this letter from the Village of Pelham. I will read just the beginning of it. You are hereby notified in accordance with
the requirements of Section 510 of the Real Property Tax Law, your tentative assessment. 2015, $620,000 and 2016, $635,000, so translation,
they are increasing my assessed valuation by $15,000 in one year, with no explanation
of why. I don’t believe the value of my home went
up $15000 last year. So what do I do about it? There’s one line, further down the letter
that says, “Grievance Day is Tuesday, June 21, 2016.” I got this letter probably in May. So that begins my adventure. I’m going to skip forward to the very end
of the process. As I record this it is September 16, 2016
and I received in the mail today a letter from the Board of Assessment Review for the
Town of Pelham and they have made a determination that my assessed valuation of $635,000 has
been reduced to $615,000. So I got a $20,000 reduction by asking for
it and in the next couple of minutes I’m going to take you through how to do that, so that
you can do it yourself, because you can do it yourself. I’m not a an attorney, I’m not an accountant,
I’m a technology guy but I don’t know much about real estate and taxes. So here is how you do it. You go down to the Town of Pelham, 34 Fifth
Avenue. Every municipality has a Town Hall, and ask
them for something called RP-524. So that is the form that you need. There are two pieces to it. Hang on. There is a 4 page instruction set. And there’s a 4 page form, which you fill
out, by hand. Straighforward. Name. Address. At the bottom of the first page you tell them
what you think your actual market valuation should be. Now, in the Town of Pelham assessed valuation
and market valuation are one and the same, so I don’t believe that my home was worth
the $635,000 so I said that I thought it was worth $563,000. They came back and said we don’t agree but
will lower it to $615,000. So, here’s the rest of this process. What happened was that Tax Grievance Day,
June 21 I made an appointment with the Board of Assessment and you go in and you meet with
the Board of Assessment and the assessor is there as well. It’s like a deposition, they’re up there on
their dais and you are down at your table. And you bring your application with you. But you have some other information. Which is, in advance of that meeting, I walked
in to the assessors office and I asked for a copy of the property tax card for my home
so that I could make sure that what they were assessing was accurate information. That the lot size was accurate, that the number
of bedrooms they think I have is accurate, then number of bathrooms is accurate. It was mostly accurate, but I learned some
stuff which I’m going to come back to a little bit later. But for now, it was reasonably accurate on
the tax card. Step 1, get that tax card. Step 2, you need what are called comps or
comparable properties. And the way you get comparable properties
around here is, the Village of Pelham has a web site and there’s a link on there where
you can access a database of comparable properties. You type in your zip code, somehow I cant
remember how, they identify you. But anybody that owns a house can access this
database. Then you type in I have a 3 bedroom house
and where it’s located you the list of comparable properties. You dig around, you dig around you find properties
that have very similar amount of land and similar number of bedrooms , floors and attached
to the RP-524 you show them these comparable properties. And, in fact, the web site allows you to print
out a little table. The web site lets you print out this table
and that table really spells out the comparable properties. So for example my property had total assessment
of $635,000 because they raised it and I had comparable properties with some of them had
even more land than I do and they were paying less, or their assessed valuations were lower
than mine. Doesn’t seem fair, I had one here for $598,000,
one for $562,000. So there are all kinds of reasons why properties
are assessed at the levels that they are. I’ll save that for a different video, but
here’s the deal. June 21 of every year or around that time
there is a single day per year when you can bring this completed RP524 to the Board of
Assessment and say, “I would like a reduction because…” You make your case based on the comparable
properties, and if you are fortunate, a few weeks later you get a letter, or a few months
later you get a letter and you get some kind of a reduction. If you don’t like what they came back with
there are still more things you can do. You can hire an attorney and you can get a
new appraisal of the home. And that process I don’t think is self-serve. I think that requires going to court and the
attorney will present a case to the judge that your valuation is inappropriate not based
only on comparables home sales, but also based on the appraisal and an appraisal can cost
$400 to $500. So you have to be sure that you want to do
that but the consequences can be very significant. Just for the asking for doing a couple of
hours of work with RP524 my assessed valuation which is the basis on which real estate taxes
are calculated was reduced by $20,000. I don’t know that might save me a few hundred
dollars a year buy hey if it’s a week of groceries I’ll take it. If you go the route of getting an appraisal
and an attorney it could mean hundreds and hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. So, go out an do it get RP-524 ask for the
tax card, find the comps online, staple it all together sign it, bring it in and make
your appointment next June. Put it on your calendar now and get your taxes
reduced. Good luck.

4 thoughts on “How to Cut Your Property Tax In New York

  1. This has been very helpful thanks..Can I use zillow to get comparables? I live in yorktown and I just bought a house they raised my valuation and I haven't even been here for a year.

  2. If everybody grieves and has their property tax reduced what'll happen is the taxing authority will raise the rate per thousand on the assessment. Governments have a budget and they'll do what it takes to steal that money from you to meet that budget.

  3. How's this for a tax assessment "grievance". Undeveloped 4.2 acres of land with only overgrown trees and bushes NO built structures of ANY kind on the property. Located between 2 residential properties. The tax assessed value of the property for the last 10+ years has been $44,200. Just received 2019 tax assessment…$285,000! This is located in Albany County in NY. Starting to fill out RP-524 now…not happy.

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