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What is an assessor?

Assessors are local government officials who estimate the value of real property within a county, city, town, or village's boundaries.

Assessors strive to provide property owners with fair and accurate assessments.

To estimate the market value of property, the assessor must be familiar with the local real estate market. To learn how assessors determine the value of property, visit How property is assessed.

Reassessments of all property in the community are the best way for the assessor to ensure you are assessed fairly. During a reassessment, assessors may physically re-inspect and reappraise properties.

The assessor records the assessments on the assessment roll. You should check the assessment roll annually to ensure you are assessed fairly and that you are receiving the exemptions you applied for.

The assessing profession is changing over time

The local assessing profession is continually evolving as technology advances and the state offers programs to encourage more professional and equitable assessing. As a result, half of the municipalities in the state share an assessor. See Municipal options for more efficient assessment administration.

Most municipalities that had elected three-person boards of assessors have switched to appointed assessors. By appointing assessors, municipalities can ensure they are hiring someone who already has the skills to perform the increasingly technological assessment function. For more information regarding towns with elected boards of assessors considering changing to sole appointed assessors, see: Towns changing from three board members of elected assessors.

In addition, the number of village assessing units has decreased dramatically. New York is the only state in the nation where property owners can receive two separate assessments for the same property. Property owners who receive separate village and town assessments must pursue separate assessment grievances on separate dates if they disagree with their assessments. For more information see: Publication 1027, Village assessing options.

Visit Municipal options for more efficient assessment administration to learn more about changes in assessment administration.

In addition to valuing property, assessors have other responsibilities:

  • Inspect new construction and major improvements to existing structures to ensure accurate property descriptions and valuations
  • Approve and track property tax exemptions, including the School Tax Relief (STAR) exemptions
  • Use software (such as RPS Version 4, which is developed by our department) to administer their various responsibilities
  • Attend all public grievance hearings of the Board of Assessment Review and present evidence in support of the municipality's assessments
  • Prepare evidence for Small Claims Assessment Review hearings
  • Review real estate sale data for accuracy
  • File annual report on assessment changes with our department

Assessors receive specialized training

Most assessors must receive basic certification by New York State within three years of taking office. This requires the successful completion of several specific courses regarding assessment administration and the valuation of real estate.

In addition, appointed assessors and sole elected assessors are required to fulfill ongoing continuing education requirements. Members of boards of elected assessors are not required to fulfill continuing education requirements.

Certified assessors are required to become re-certified within a year of re-election or re-appointment to office by completing approved ethics training.

Contact your assessor

If you have questions about your assessment or want to learn more about the job of the assessor, you can find your contact information for your assessor on our Municipal Profiles Web page. Municipal profiles also includes property-tax related statistics and information about municipalities and counties.