How To Grieve Taxes

How To Grieve Taxes? | A Step-By-Step Guide

by Amrita

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 by Amrita

If you’re a homeowner, paying property taxes is an inescapable part of your annual expenses. However, as a homeowner, you may not know that there is a way to potentially reduce your tax burden. This process, known as grieving your taxes, involves submitting a complaint petition and supporting documentation to your local municipality in hopes of getting tax abatement. In this guide, I will share with you the process of How To Grieve Taxes and explain why it can be beneficial for homeowners to do it annually.

Property Tax Grievance Process

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How Does Tax Grievance Work?

The first step in the tax grievance process is to research the specific procedures and deadlines for your local municipality. This information can usually be found on the website of your town or city. Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you will need to fill out a form and submit it along with a letter explaining why you are filing a grievance.

To increase your chances of success, it’s important to gather supporting documentation that shows why you believe your property assessment is inaccurate. This can include recent sales of similar properties in your area, photos of any damages or defects on your property, and any relevant market data.

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What Are The Benefits Of Grieving Your Taxes

The thought of dealing with your tax grieving process as a homeowner can seem difficult. But did you know that taking the time to submit a grievance petition and supporting documentation could potentially reduce your property taxes?

This means that you can save money on your property taxes, even if it’s only for the current year. Additionally, by reducing the assessed value of your home, you are also helping future homeowners because the lower assessment will stay with the property.

How To Grieve Taxes? Grieving Process

1. Filing A Grievance Petition

The first step in grieving your property taxes is to file a grievance petition with your municipality. This must be done within the established deadlines, which can vary by location. In most areas, this day is known as Grievance Day.

On this day, a Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will meet to evaluate the grievances filed. It is important to adhere to these deadlines as filing after they pass may result in your petition being dismissed.

2. Required Documents

When filing a grievance petition, there are two main documents that must be submitted. The first is form RP-524 or the Complaint on Real Property Assessment. This form is used to outline specific details about your property and why you believe it has been over assessed.

The second document is a letter of support, which can include additional information and supporting documents such as public records, comparative market analysis from a real estate agent, or an appraisal.

3. Mentioning Desired Relief

In your grievance petition, it is important to clearly state the relief you are seeking. This means indicating the specific amount that you believe your property’s market value should be reduced to. It is recommended to ask for as much relief as you believe you deserve, as this can increase the chances of a successful outcome.

4. Attending the Hearing

While attending the Grievance Day hearing is not mandatory, it can be beneficial to present your case in front of the BAR. However, even if you are unable to attend, the BAR will carefully review your petition and make a decision. It is important to note that this decision may not always result in the desired outcome.

5. Appeals

If your grievance complaint is not successful or you do not receive the desired relief, you have the option to appeal the decision. This can be done through a Supreme Court trial or by filing for a Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR).

It is important to carefully consider the decision and determine if an appeal is necessary, as the process can be lengthy and may not always result in a favorable outcome.

Reference Link: Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR):

What Happens After You File A Tax Grievance?

Once you have filed your grievance, the local municipality will review your application and supporting documentation. They may schedule an informal meeting with you to discuss your case further or request additional information. In some cases, they may offer a settlement or stipulation to lower your assessed value without going through a formal hearing process.

If your grievance is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision and present your case in front of an independent review board. This board will listen to both sides and make a final determination on whether or not your property assessment should be adjusted.

How Do You Know If You Are Over-Assessed?

You can determine if you are over-assessed by checking your annual tax bill. Most municipalities assess properties at one hundred percent of their value. If you feel that the amount listed is adequate based on your property’s value and neighboring properties, then you may not need to grieve your taxes.

However, if you believe that the assessment was made inappropriately or there have been changes in your neighborhood that may have affected your property’s value, then it’s worth considering grieving your taxes.

Factors That Can Affect Your Property Value

Various factors can affect your property’s value, including changes in the neighborhood, development projects, and other external influences.

For instance, if a town installs windmills or cell phone towers near your property, it could significantly impact your home’s value regardless of its assessed value in recent years. Other factors such as economic conditions and natural disasters can also affect your property’s value.

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Can I Grieve My Taxes Every Year?

The short answer is yes – you have the right to grieve your taxes on an annual basis. This means that even if you were successful in reducing your property tax bill through a grievance in the past, you can still file for another one the following year. However, keep in mind that this process will require submitting new forms, updated letters, and supporting documentation.

It is also important to note that each year is considered a new assessment, regardless of the outcome of previous years’ grievances. Therefore, it is in your best interest to approach each year’s grievance as if it were your first time filing, rather than relying on past information or outcomes.

Can My Property Taxes Increase After Grieving?

No – once your property has been assessed and a determination has been made by your local municipality, the amount listed on your tax bill cannot be increased through the grievance process. This would be against the law and you have the right to contest such an action with the help of a lawyer.

While there is no guarantee that you will receive a favorable outcome when filing for a tax grievance, it is important to note that your taxes cannot go up as a result. This should give you the confidence to file for a grievance without fear of any negative repercussions.

What Is The Cost Of Filing A Tax Grievance?

The cost of filing a tax complaint can vary depending on whether you choose to represent yourself or hire a professional. If you decide to represent yourself, there is no fee as this is a free process. However, if you choose to hire a professional, they may charge a fee and this may vary.

It’s important to remember that in many cases, you will only pay this fee if your property taxes are reduced as a result of the complaint. This means that there is no upfront cost or risk involved in filing for a tax grievance. If you’re successful, the fee will be deducted from your savings, leaving you with a fairer property tax bill.

Alternative Ways To Submit A Grievance Application | How To Grieve Taxes?

While the traditional way to submit a grievance application is by filling out a form provided by your local municipality, there may be alternative methods available. Depending on where you live, you may be required to fill out a form for both the town and village where your property is located.

Additionally, it is important to note that while hiring a lawyer is not required for the process, they do have the ability to submit the form on your behalf if you choose to have legal representation.

How To Reduce My Property Taxes?

Property taxes are a significant source of revenue for local governments and are calculated based on the assessed value of your home. This assessed value is determined by your town’s assessor, who evaluates your property’s market value and applies a tax rate set by the local government.

The higher your home’s assessed value, the more you will pay in taxes. However, there are ways to challenge and reduce your assessed value to ultimately lower your property taxes.

#Filing A Property Tax Grievance

If you believe that your home’s assessed value is too high, you have the option to file a property tax grievance. This process involves formally contesting the town’s assessed value of your property. By providing evidence that proves your home is worth less than the taxable value, you can potentially receive a reduction in your property taxes.

It’s important to note that filing a grievance does not guarantee a tax reduction, but it is an effective way to challenge the assessed value of your home.

It’s common for property owners to have concerns about filing a grievance, such as fears of their taxes being raised or someone from the assessor’s office visiting their home. However, these concerns are unfounded as filing a grievance cannot result in an increase in your taxes, and no one will come to your home.

#Lowering Your Assessment through Exemptions

Aside from filing a grievance, another way to lower your property taxes is by taking advantage of exemptions. One of the most common exemptions is the STAR (School Tax Relief) exemption, available to all New York residents who own and live in their primary residence. This exemption works by exempting the first $30,000 of your home’s assessed value from school taxes.

Additionally, there is an Enhanced STAR exemption available for senior citizens aged 65 and older with a yearly household income that does not exceed the statewide standard. This exemption can significantly reduce property taxes for eligible individuals.

How To Grieve Taxes | FAQ

Q.1: What is tax grievance?

Ans: Tax grievance (also known as property tax assessment appeal) is a process that allows you to challenge the assessed value of your property. This process can potentially result in a lower tax bill for you as a homeowner providing you with much-needed relief from high taxes.

Q.2: Can anyone file a tax grievance?

Ans: The short answer is yes – anyone who pays property taxes is eligible to file a tax grievance. This includes not only homeowners, but also tenants who are responsible for paying property taxes and purchasers under contract. The process is the same for all eligible parties.

Q.3: How do I grieve village taxes in Nassau County?

Ans: One of the most common concerns for homeowners in Nassau County is how to grieve their village taxes. Fortunately, the process has been made much simpler and more convenient thanks to online applications. Submit your application on the selected tax grievance office website and begin the process of potentially lowering your taxes.

Also, if you have any questions or need assistance with your application, you can call their dedicated hotline for help.

Q.4: Do non-resident property owners have the same rights?

Ans: The process of grieving your taxes is open to all individuals who are paying property taxes, regardless of their residency status. This means that both resident and non-resident homeowners, as well as tenants who are paying property taxes, are eligible to file a grievance petition.

The process remains the same for everyone eligible, and the outcome will be based on the evidence and documentation provided.

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Final Thoughts | How To Grieve Taxes?

Filing for a tax grievance can be a simple and effective way to potentially reduce your annual property tax bill. It is important to gather all necessary information and follow the correct steps to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

If you are unsure about the process, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional for guidance and assistance. Remember, you have the right to challenge your property’s assessed value and potentially save money on your taxes each year.

So take advantage of this opportunity and file for a tax grievance if you feel that your property has been over-assessed. The potential savings can make a significant difference in your overall financial situation.

Keep in mind that property values can change each year, so it may be worth considering filing for a tax grievance annually. By staying informed about the process and taking action when necessary, you can ensure that you are not overpaying on your property taxes.

Reference Link:

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