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Property tax bills

Most taxpayers in New York State receive two tax bills each year:

  1. School tax bills are generally the first to arrive after assessments are finalized. In most communities, school tax bills arrive in early September and may also include library taxes.
  2. In most communities, the second bill arrives in early January and is for county and town taxes, as well as other special district charges.

Tax bill calendars differ in some downstate counties, as well as some cities.

Rather than receiving tax bills, those who have their property taxes held in escrow receive receipts.

Property tax bills and receipts contain a lot of helpful information for taxpayers. Beyond the amount of taxes you owe, the bills indicate where your taxes are going and how much more is being collected by your local governments each year. The information on the bill can also help you determine whether your assessment is accurate.

The amount you owe

The amount you owe, as well as the information necessary to calculate your bill, is available on your property tax bill:

Taxable assessed value of your property for each taxing purpose/jurisdiction

  • Can vary from one taxing jurisdiction to another due to exemptions.
  • For example, the STAR exemption applies to school taxes but does not apply to library taxes. As a result, your taxable assessed value for your library district may be higher than your taxable assessed value for your school district.

Value of your exemptions 

  • The total amount of your exemptions is deducted from the total assessed value of your property to determine the taxable assessed value of your property.
  • Common exemptions include the STAR exemption, Senior Citizens exemption and Veterans exemption.

STAR savings

  • If you receive the Basic or Enhanced STAR exemption, the amount of your savings is listed on the bill and is used to decrease the amount you owe.

Tax rate for each taxing jurisdiction

  • Typically shown in dollars per thousand of assessed value

Is your school district or local government collecting more in taxes this year?

To determine whether the taxing jurisdiction is collecting more or less in taxes compared to last year, look at the percentage change from prior year of the tax levy.

Your tax bill also has the tax rates for each taxing jurisdiction. Changes in the tax rate between years are not accurate barometers of changes in the amount of taxes being collected. (For example, if assessments have increased, the tax rate can remain the same and the taxing jurisdiction can still collect more in taxes.)

Is your assessment accurate?

It is important to bear in mind that tax bills arrive after your opportunity to request a reduction in your assessment. When your town or city publishes the tentative assessment roll, you should check the assessment, full value, and exemptions for your property. Using that information and a basic knowledge of the value of your home, you can determine if you are fairly assessed. To learn more visit Overview of the assessment roll.

This information could help you to contest your assessment next year. The following information on your tax bill can help you determine if you are assessed fairly:

  • total assessed value,
  • uniform percentage of value at which parcels in the community assessed,
  • full market value of your parcel,
    • If the full value is higher than your estimate of the value of your property, you may be over-assessed,
    • Full market value x uniform percentage of value = total assessed value.