Friday, March 26, 2010

Suffolk County Property Tax Assessments Mailing

Watch out for a plain looking correspondence from your Suffolk town assessor. Do not throw it away. It is a potential missive of higher taxes. The letter might even describe a lower real estate assessment. A lower tax assessment does not necessarily mean lower taxes; it more likely means higher tax rates. Similar to Nassau each school district and special district has its own special tax rate. Therefore, everyone in Huntington does not pay on the same tax rate. Where Southampton town did a revaluation a few years ago the town of Babylon has not done a revaluation in decades. The bottom line is you won’t know your bottom line until the tax bills arrive in December and then it will be too late to complain.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Correcting Nassau County Assessment Errors

On Sunday March 21, 2010, Newsday featured a lengthy article about Nassau County’s substandard real estate tax assessment system. It was an extremely unflattering story and, unfortunately for Nassau County real estate taxpayers, it was all true. Nassau’s assessment system is broken and has been in disarray for many years. There are over 420,000 individual parcels in Nassau County, yet the County does not have the infrastructure to value them correctly. There are several different computer systems used in assessor’s office, frequently containing different information due to human errors made while inputting data from one system to another.

Examples of assessor’s office mistakes include the assessment of a half-acre parcel as a two-acre parcel, the assessment of a three bedroom split-level house as a five bedroom colonial house, etc. etc. etc. Some mistakes will have no affect on the real estate taxpayer because the assessment, despite erroneous descriptions, can still be based on the correct market value. However, some mistakes can result in unrealistic market values and inflated real estate tax bills. The good news is that these mistakes can be corrected, even if a protest was not filed prior to this years March 1, 2010 deadline.

Everyone paying real estate taxes for property in Nassau County should click here to verify the County’s description and compare your assessments to your neighbor’s. It only takes a few minutes, and in the end could save you $$$.