Thursday, October 16, 2014

Have You Seen Your Bill Yet? Nassau County Taxes Have Increased

The first half of the Nassau County school taxes were just sent out to every commercial and residential tax payer.  Even if your real estate tax assessment did not increase since last year, your taxes increased.
The 2% cap passed last year is on the budgets, but if some assessments were decreased in your school districts, possibly by successful real estate tax reduction complaints, the tax rate increased more than the 2% cap.  The next time you can protest Nassau County Real Estate taxes is in January 2015.  Certainly, every tax bill should be checked for accuracy.  If there was any construction or substantial property improvement, there are tax exemptions that can be applied for before December 31st.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Stop Dancing Around Tax Reform

The region’s tax burden tops every voter’s anxiety list and, almost without exception, Long Island’s elected officials have adopted the mantra of cutting government costs through a variety of mechanisms – tax caps, spending moratoriums, frozen capital improvements and the like.

These are but minor tweaks. What’s required is the genuine political will to adopt sweeping reforms that will make a strategic difference in our collective tax bill, such as the consolidation of neighboring school districts.

In examining just one program trumpeted as “tax reform,” the loopholes become apparent. When property owners take advantage of the reassessment process, the municipal revenue from that property is obviously reduced, forcing the taxing authority to make up the difference by increasing tax burdens across the board. The property owner who didn’t qualify for reassessment is subject to the financial version of double jeopardy: the overall increased burden plus an assessment that’s higher than those who successfully sought reductions.
Yet the problem is even more complex. In Valley Stream, there is not one but three school districts. Own property on the wrong corner and your tax burden could be substantially higher than the owner across the street. Consolidation would bring sanity and cost savings, but no politician dares raise this issue: School district sovereignty has become inviolate across Long Island.

Other programs, such as the state’s 2 percent cap on tax increases, are equally porous reform measures, while the governor’s proposal to incentivize local government to consolidate services will be met with the same studied indifference that politicians offered a similar proposal by my law partner, John V.N. Klein, who recommended this kind of progressive initiative decades ago. Town supervisors pocket-vetoed that plan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a number of other options, including tying property taxes to a homeowner’s income and ability to pay. But that could create the specter of widely fluctuating tax burdens that unseat local property values.
The real means to end this crisis is a realization that the current property tax burden is simply unsupportable and consolidation is the only way to create genuine tax reform.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Channel 4 WNBC-TV Interviewed Richard Fromewick


On January 7th, Richard Fromewick was interviewed by reporter Lori Bordonaro of Channel 4 WNBC-TV on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to cut taxes.

Click here to watch the video and read the full article.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

As the cliché goes, “you can’t trust everything you read,” and a glaring example of that is your real estate tax market value.

If you look online at the official Nassau County website,, the market value of your residential property claims to be based on .25% and for commercial property at 1%.  However, properties are really assessed much higher. When the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) or court hearings are set, we as attorneys are able to prove the assessment is based on a higher market value. Don’t be disheartened if you see that the assessor has your home’s market value as extremely low because in fact, it’s really much higher.

The relationship between assessments and market value changes every year based on sales in the County.  An assessment might stay the same but the market value that the County is using might change.  If you think the assessment on your home or business was based on $500,000, you might be satisfied not to complain.  But if you found out the assessment was really based on a $600,000 value, you might want to file a complaint.  New Nassau County assessments will be ready the first week of January 2014.  That assessment should be checked for accuracy by an attorney experienced with tax certiorari proceedings.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Going on Two Years – No Refunds

There have been virtually no real estate tax refunds from Nassau County for the past two years.  The refunds are due to residential and commercial taxpayers from Nassau County. The taxpayers successfully challenged their real estate tax assessments in tax certiorari proceedings.  In some cases, the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) agreed to the over-assessments, while other proceedings were decided by hearing officers at Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) hearings.  Any proceedings that could not be settled administratively were negotiated and settled with the Nassau County Attorney’s office. A relatively few number of cases went to trial and judgments were handed down by the Supreme Court demanding refunds.  It has been estimated that almost $400 million in refunds with interest have accumulated as a debt still to be paid.
On June 24, 2013, the Nassau County Legislature will once again have on its agenda a bond proposal to create a fund for infrastructure repair due to Hurricane Sandy and to pay the tax refunds. Here’s hoping a tax certiorari refund program can be agreed to in a non-partisan way.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Property Damaged by Sandy Will Impact Everyone’s Taxes

Everyone on Long Island, particularly those on the South Shore, should be aware of the possibility of some serious real estate tax increases.

Let’s start with some basic math. Tax rates are determined by the amount of real property tax assessments and the current budget.  If assessments are decreased, the tax rates must increase to cover the budget. 

The South Shore communities suffered great loss from super storm Sandy.  Many commercial properties were damaged along with residential property.  Real estate tax assessments will have to decrease for those damaged properties. Many other properties suffer substantial loss in market value by the stigma of being near areas that were flooded and may also receive assessment decreases. Less assessment means higher tax rates for all properties. To state it most simply; if your neighbor receives a tax assessment decrease and you don’t, their taxes might go down and your taxes might go up.  To protect yourself from these increases, you must have your tax assessment reviewed until the end of April 2013 in Nassau County and in May for Suffolk County, as there is only a short window to protest the assessment.

Damage report forms and tax reduction forms are available at

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Real Estate Tax Reduction/Super Storm Sandy

I sincerely hope that each of you and your possessions are safe.  My home and cars were damaged by the rising waters but those things can be replaced.

Many residential and business properties were physically damaged to a much greater extent.  Since real estate tax assessments are based on market value, everyone should carefully evaluate any physical damage.  Simple concise reports should be made directly to the Assessor and hopefully appropriate adjustments will be made to the tax assessments.  However, these reports do not take the place of formal complaints/grievances that must be filed in January for Nassau and New York City and in May for Suffolk properties.  Separate complaints must be made for property that is also taxed by a Village.  If the assessment is not lowered or a formal complaint is not filed in a timely manner, the taxes will not be reduced regardless of the damage to the property.