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Uniform Assessment Standards

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(Updated April 2012)

Early in 2009, the New York State Board of Real Property Services (The State Board) directed the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) to collaborate with assessors and county property tax directors to develop a set of principles to guide assessment administration by individual assessing units. The Real Property Tax Administration Committee (RPTAC) which is made up of representatives of the New York State Assessors Association and the New York State Association of Directors of Real Property Tax Services, as well as ORPS staff, provided the ideal medium for the ensuing discussions and debate. The result was consensus on a recommendation to the State Board of appropriate Uniform Assessment Standards.

The State Board adopted the following Uniform Assessment Standards on February 9, 2010. In August of 2010, legislation passed as part of the budget process:

  • merged the Office of Real Property Services with the Department of Taxation & Finance
  • added "Tax" to the Agency moniker, and
  • relieved the State Board of any policy or oversight authority.

The adoption of the Uniform Assessment Standards was the last policy action taken by the State Board of Real Property Services.

The intent of the Uniform Assessment Standards is to provide a general blueprint for local government assessing units to establish "equitable" and "transparent" assessments. "Equitable" means that all properties are uniformly assessed at full market value. "Transparent" means that the system is easy to understand by all taxpayers, and that all relevant information is readily available to the public.

The standards are advisory in nature - the only requirements are those contained in State statute, board regulation or rule, and agency procedure or practice. All assessing units are encouraged to look to these standards for direction to assessing staff, elected officials, taxpayers and the general public. In addition, local governments - assessing unit or otherwise - are encouraged to refer to these standards when formulating policy.

The Uniform Assessment Standards is a work in progress, and it is expected that it will evolve over time. Amendments to the document will be approved by the entire membership of RPTAC.

I. VALUATION STANDARDS

  • 1.1 STANDARD OF ASSESSMENT: All real property is assessed at its current full value.
  • 1.2 USE STANDARD FOR VALUATION: Improved property is assessed for its current use. Property that is put to no current use is assessed for its highest and best use.
  • 1.3 DEFINITION OF VALUE: Value means market value - the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arm's - length transaction.
  • 1.4 APPROACHES TO VALUE: There are three accepted approaches for determining market value: Comparable Sales, Income, and Cost.
    • 1.4.1 THE COMPARABLE SALES APPROACH: The value of a parcel is determined by using recent sales of similar properties.
    • 1.4.2 THE INCOME APPROACH: The value of a parcel is determined by capitalizing rental income potential.
    • 1.4.3 THE COST APPROACH: The value of a parcel is determined by using the depreciated current cost to reconstruct improvements, plus land value.
  • 1.5 MASS APPRAISAL: Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal is a necessary component for determining market value.
  • 1.6 UNIFORMITY: There is uniformity in value for all parcels on each year's assessment roll.
  • 1.7 APPRAISAL: Regularly scheduled appraisal of all parcels - at least once every four years - is necessary to maintain assessment equity.

II. PROCEDURAL STANDARDS

  • 2.1 ASSESSMENT DATA: Each parcel has an individual file of all its property data (inventory), which is maintained on a computerized record such as RPS or equivalent, and is updated by inspection at least every six years.
  • 2.2 SALES VERIFICATION: Sold properties are inspected and the conditions of sale are verified.
  • 2.3 EXEMPTIONS: All real property is subject to taxation unless a specific exemption statute applies. Eligibility for exemption is determined annually by the Assessor.
  • 2.4 PUBLIC INFORMATION: All property information not otherwise exempted from disclosure is available to the general public in a usable format.
  • 2.5 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND EDUCATION: Professional and effective public relations and education are integral components of effective assessment administration.
  • 2.6 RESOURCES: There is adequate staffing and funding for complete, yet cost-effective, assessment administration.
  • 2.7 TRAINING: Assessing staff are well trained and up to date in all facets of assessment administration.
  • 2.8.1 ASSESSMENT REVIEW: Taxpayers have an opportunity to seek review of their assessments.
  • 2.8.2 DEFENSE OF ASSESSMENTS: The assessing unit provides necessary support for defense of its assessments.
  • 2.9 TECHNOLOGY: There is up-to-date technology, such as RPS.
    • 2.9.1 TAX MAPS: Current and accurate tax maps are maintained.
    • 2.9.2 PHOTOGRAPHY: Photography is an integral part of assessment administration.
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