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