Video: Contest an assessment
Video: Is your assessment fair?
If you own property in New York State, you are eligible for formal review of your assessment.
There are two levels of formal review:
- Administrative review - the "grievance" process is conducted at the municipal level
- Judicial review
- In order to pursue judicial review you must first go through administrative review
- includes two options:
- Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) - a low-cost option available to most homeowners;
- Tax certiorari proceedings in State Supreme Court - to pursue this option, you should contact an attorney.
Before pursuing formal review of your assessment, you should first determine if you are assessed fairly:
Step One: What is the assessor's estimate of the market value of your property?
You'll find this information on the assessment roll.
You should check your assessment annually prior to Grievance Day (typically the fourth Tuesday in May, but confirm the date with your assessor).
If your municipality is assessing at 100% of market value, your assessment and the assessor's estimate of market value will be identical.
If assessments are not at 100% of market value, you can use this formula to calculate the assessor's estimate of market value:
- assessment ÷ level of assessment = assessor's estimate of market value
Step Two: Develop an estimate of the market value of your property
Generally, if the assessor's estimate of the market value of your property reflects roughly the amount for which you could sell your property, then your assessment is fair.
Step Three: If your assessment is too high
Often, an informal discussion between a taxpayer and an assessor can result in a sharing of information beneficial to both parties. If such a discussion does not result in a reduction in your assessment, and you still feel as though your assessment is too high, you may wish to contest your assessment.
Rather than determining that your assessment is too high, you might find that your property is assessed based on its market value, but the rest of the community is assessed at a lower level of assessment. Again, you should discuss this with your assessor. For example,
- Your property is worth $100,000 and your assessment is $100,000. However, properties in your town are assessed at 90% of market value. Your property is overassessed - your assessment should be $90,000.
If you are assessed fairly, but you feel that your taxes are too high
Assessors do not determine your property taxes. If you feel as though your assessment accurately reflects the market value of your property, but you still feel that your property taxes are too high, you may wish to address this matter with the taxing jurisdictions that impose taxes in your community - school board, county legislature, city council, town board, fire district and other special districts.
The assessor cannot assist you with tax matters, but only with matters pertaining to the assessed value of your property.