It’s one of the best-kept secrets in area home ownership: grieving your property taxes. With property tax rates that can approach and even exceed 2%, many homeowners in the greater New York City area often find themselves taking 50% or more on top of their monthly mortgage payment just to cover those sky-high costs.
In New York State, many homeowners have turned to the tax grievance process to reduce their annual property tax burden—and plenty have been successful. Grieving your property taxes simply means that you are challenging the assessed fair market value of your home based on any one of a variety of market conditions, in an attempt to get your annual fees lowered.
Property taxes are based on fair market value of your home—which, of course, can be up for endless debate. For those looking to grieve their taxes, the first step is researching whether the assessor’s determination of your property’s fair market value is accurate. From here, you can prepare a grievance petition and Complain on Real Property Assessment—also called a Form RP-524—and include a letter in support, plus any substantiating documents such as a home appraisal or comparable property information. Each county has an annual grievance day—in Westchester County it’s the third week in June, for example—during which time this documentation can be submitted.
Additionally, there are services throughout the state that assist homeowners with the grievance process, such as the Property Tax Reassessment. For a small fee or percentage of money saved, these groups help homeowners challenge their property tax fees—and they’re successful more often than not. There’s no upfront cost to file a grievance, no risk involved and no possibility that taxes will increase as a result of your filing so, for many homeowners, ends with a favorable result.