If you are a New Yorker contemplating appealing your property taxes, you should read on. New York City currently collects about $24 billion in property taxes annually. The city expects this amount to grow over the next several years. It represents about 45% of all taxes collected and roughly 40% of its total revenue. While this includes all property types, the residential property generates a fair amount.
It is funding a variety of items that run the city and make it a great metropolis. The significant expenditures include uniform agencies (e.g., police, sanitation, etc.), education, other agencies, and health and welfare. However, while no one wants to shirk their civic responsibilities, neither should you pay more than your fair share. Typically, property taxes are a homeowner’s second-biggest monthly expense, trailing your mortgage (principal and interest) payment.
With this in mind, you can take steps if you feel your property tax bill is too high.
Check the AccuracyCheck the Accuracy
An obvious but easily overlooked part of the process. While you would expect the city to have the correct information, that is not always the case. Particularly true if you have recently completed construction.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to verify the data, including the square footage and the number of bathrooms. For instance, the city may state your house has two full baths. However, in reality, it contains one-and-a-half bathrooms.
The NYC Department of Finance sends out the notice of property value. Includes a property description containing the property and land’s square footage, number of residential units/floors, number of non-residential units. In addition, there is other information, such as the name and owner of the property, street address, and valid market value.
It should be easy for you to correct these errors, although you may have to spend some time on the matter. First, you must file an administrative review application with the NYC Department of Finance. The city has the power to go back six years to fix errors retroactively.
Watch Tour DeadlinesWatch Tour Deadlines
You must pay attention to the deadline for appealing your property tax since you cannot do so at any time throughout the year. The annual assessment comes out annually and is released on January 15th. You must file a protest with the NYC Tax Commission, an independent agency, by March 15th for Class 1 properties (residential property up to three units, including family homes and most condos that are not more than three stories). And March 1st for the other three classes (Class 2 are primarily residential and do not fit into Class 1; including rentals; co-ops/condos with at least two units).
Disagreement on Property ValuationDisagreement on Property Valuation
The matter becomes more complicated and confusing when you disagree on the assessed value. When the NYC Department of Finance notices property value, you may believe the estimated market value; is too high based on current conditions. You may also disagree with the tax class your property was put in. Errors are handled; through the Department of Finance, which has the sole domain in this matter. But, you can protest the valuation assigned to the NYC Tax Commission.
The commission has various forms for you to fill out. Form TC108 is for valuation claims regarding Class 1 properties. Meanwhile, TC101 is for Class 2 or 4 properties, other than condo units. You will need form TC109 for condo units in Class 2 or 4 classifications.
You enter your claim of the market value, and the property tax is obtained by multiplying it by the exact percentage. There is an option to request an in-person hearing. Other required information includes property description, such as the number of kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
You must provide support for your claim.You must provide support for your claim.
The crucial information is where the form asks you to provide support for your property tax appeal claim. It asks about sales information on other properties, including the date, price, and address. Again, it is best to find recent comps and, the more like-kind to your property, the better. Ideally, it has the same square footage as your unit, and it is on the same floor. Failing that, one in your building is the next best comparable sale to use.
Should you Hire a Professional?Should you Hire a Professional?
You can hire a company or law firm that can handle your property tax appeal. Using a professional services provider has certain advantages. Presumably, the company is an expert in this area and knows the process and proper forms to file. It should also see if you have a legitimate claim. Using an outside company can save you time dealing with the city bureaucracy. Additionally, the firm does the legwork to demonstrate that your property has a lower market value than the city claims. On the downside, you will have an added expense with no guarantee of the outcome.
Given this, you might wish to analyze the cost and benefits carefully.
Other Ways to Lower Your Property Tax BillOther Ways to Lower Your Property Tax Bill
The city and state have additional programs that might help you reduce your property tax bill. First, the New York State Tax Relief Exemption, or STAR, provides tax relief for the state’s residents. The first STAR exempts the first $30,000 of your home’s value from taxation, providing your income is less than $500,000. Second, the state designed Enhanced STAR for residents age 65 or older.
Other exemptions can reduce your property tax bill. For example, the city benefits those 65 or older, the Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemptions (SCHE). SCHE Your eligibility is dependent on having your income below a threshold. You also must meet other requirements related to ownership and residency. This can lower your assessed value by up to 50%, depending on your income.
Additional ExemptionsAdditional Exemptions
There are also property tax exemptions for disabled individuals. Like the SCHE program, this can decrease your home’s assessed value by up to 50%. Other groups that can achieve property tax relief include veterans, clergy, and disabled crime victims. To gain eligibility for these programs, the city requires that the property is your primary residence. Me, you live there most of the year or use the address for your voting registration.
For the city’s programs, you need to have your application postmarked by March 15th to receive benefits by July 1st. Otherwise, your assistance starts the following year.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
You do not have to accept the city’s assessed value blindly. There is a procedure in place for you to appeal your property taxes. However, it is important to note that the onus is on you to do your homework and provide proof.