Home Buying in Central State>Question Details

Angelacdubois, Renter in Butler, NJ

Can property taxes be negotiated?

Asked by Angelacdubois, Butler, NJ Wed Dec 19, 2012

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Negotiated maybe but grieved yes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 6, 2013
Well, yes and no. Property taxes can't really be "negotiated" but you can file appeal if you have justification to show that your home has been over valued. If you win, your taxes go down. See your county tax assessors office for info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 6, 2013
Oops! City of Schenectady is at 104% Here is the link for the equalization rates for local municipalities. http://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/assess/eqratecounty.htm
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
I concur with Victoria's answer as to the percent of market value used. This is called the Equalization Rate. And it can vary widely within between municipalities. Some municipalities, like Schenectady, for example, are at 100%. Some, like Rensselaer, currently at 29.38%, are much lower, but then they hike the taxes per thousand that they charge you, so you are still paying about the same or sometimes, even more, in the long run. But recent sales are, in fact, used as part of their formula to determine the assessed value. Over 98% of the cases we do in our office (which is a brokerage and an appraisal firm) are based on the Sales Comparison Approach. Then, once the value of the property is determined, we use the Equalization Rate to determine the actual taxable assessment for the property. And when we go to the Board of Assessment Review with our set of comparable sales, the assessor or his representative will often pull out the recent comparable sales they are using to say the property is worth more. There are two ways to grieve your taxes. One is for Excessive Assessment (described here and below) and one is for Unequal Assessment (which is saying that you think you're being taxed at a higher percentage of your assessed value than your neighbor's are - and which is better described in Victoria's answer). The forms that you download will let you choose which type of grievance you are doing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
Be careful using recent sales as a comparison. That's not entirely accurate. Unless your municipality aims as 100% market value, a recent sale isn't going to help you grieve. You need to grieve your taxes based on the TAX ASSESSED value of your neighbors' properties, not their MARKET VALUE. These are two different things. Many municipalities work on a sliding scale, so that each house's tax assessed value is 80% of its market value or 120% of it's market value, for example. Find out what your town uses, and then look at the tax assessed value of your neighbors who have comparable homes. Sale values don't mean much in terms of taxes, although some people do try to use recent sales to help, what matters most is the tax assessed value.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
I didn't mention in the previous answer, that you can grieve your taxes on tax grievance day whether it is your primary residence or not. But if you are turned down on tax grievance day before the Board of Assessment Review, you can only go to Small Claims Court if the property is Owner Occupied. Non-Owner Occupied properties can be grieved on tax grievance day, but if they turn down your grievance, if you want to continue the fight, you will have to go to a different type of court - which, I'll warn you up front can take a year or more to resolve, and will most likely involve a lawyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
Property taxes can't be "negotiatied", per se - but they can be grieved. And sometimes negotiation is involved in the grieving process. There is ONE grievance day a year for taxes, and a deadline for filing the paperwork in order for your property to be reviewed. (Some smaller municipalities will allow you to call the assessor "off season" and discuss your assessment with them. They will most likely want to come into your home and see it for themselves, if they do agree to work with you on it. But for the most part, you will likely have to do an official tax grievance on tax grievance day. You can do this yourself with a lot of research, or hire an appraiser. Some appraisers will not only appraise your property, they will do all the paperwork filing (which is very deadline sensitive), and go to the Board of Assessment Review on your behalf. Most people think the value of their property should be the same or close to the same as their neighbor's. But, just showing up on grievance day and saying my neighbor's house is only assessed for $100,000 - so I think my assessment should be $100,000 won't work. The assessor will base his/her value of your property on sales that sold in your neighborhood of comparable properties to yours within the past year or so. That is what you'll need to research, as well. Find out the sales of similar properties in your area and then make adjustments based on whether they're bigger or smaller, have more bathrooms, a more updated kitchen, etc. You can google the name of your municipality and the words tax grievance form, and you will likely be able to download the forms you need online. Pay very close attention to the deadlines - AND to the offices where you have to send the paperwork - in most cases, you'll have to send out or hand deliver the forms to several different offices throughout your municipality and your school district and some have to be mailed special delivery. If you are turned down at the Board of Assessment Review on tax grievance day - you can file a claim in Small Claims Court, which is very low cost (usually about $30). You don't need a lawyer to go to Small Claims Court. You can go yourself, or you can hire an appraiser to go for you. Remember, you're not asking to lower your taxes - you're trying to lower the assessed value of your property, which will result in lower taxes. Also - make sure you're already getting all the discounts you're eligible for. Did you apply for STAR, which lowers school taxes? Are you a Veteran? or a Senior Citizen? All of these will not affect your assessment, but they help you to lower the percentage of the assessment that you're taxed on. Always feel free to call your local assessor's office to get more information, because each municipality functions differently.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
Taxes can be grieved, therefore contact your local tax assessor's office for information...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Hi Angela,

In New York State, property taxes cannot be negotiated per say, but they can be grieved. If you feel that you have been over assessed in comparison to other homes in your neighborhood, the fourth Tuesday in May is known as grievance day. Speak with your Realtor about getting some comparable sales and assessments from the last year and present them to your town on Grievance Day. If you truly are over-assessed, the town will lower your assessment, which lowers your taxes. It's not guaranteed to work, but most town assessors are very reasonable if you have decent comparables.

If you do not have a Realtor, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help.

All the best,
~Tori Romeo
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Certified Buyer Representative
Bliss Properties of NY
tori@blisspropertiesofny.com
518-788-8865
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Sorry but NO. You can however seek an abatement on the assessed value of the home if you think the town.city has placed too high an assessed value on the home. The tax collector multiplies their tax rate times the assessed value to arrive at taxes. You would need proof of value such as an appraisal or broker price opinion and then have to fill out the paperwork from your assessors office for an abatement,.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
New York State works a bit differently, but it's essentially the same. There's less paperwork though :)
Flag Wed Dec 19, 2012
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