Friday, November 17, 2017

Lifetime Achievement for Tax Certiorari

There is a benefit to staying in one law firm and reducing real estate taxes for over 36 years -  I am proud to report that at the Long Island Business News’ Leadership in Law Awards ceremony at the Crest Hollow last night – I was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Many attorneys change jobs every few  years, motivated by either unhappiness or great expectations.  My chosen field gives me great pleasure, almost every single day.  To be able to improve a person’s financial conditions on their home or business – it’s a great feeling and one that I expect to continue at Meyer Suozzi for many years to come.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Real Estate Changes – Who Will Be The New Assessors?

There are big changes for Long Island’s government - Nassau County, Suffolk towns and both County’s legislatures have new players. Will this affect your real estate taxes? Not in the short run. However, in the future, I expect reassessments in most Long Island towns and villages.  There will probably be more early hearings on tax protest/grievances/complaints so assessments can be changed before tax bills are prepared.  Now is the time to make sure your property assessment is at the lowest level allowable so if changes are made you start on a lower footing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Should Everyone File for Real Estate Tax Reductions?

I hear all the time, “I am not over-assessed but my real estate taxes keep going up. Why?” The answer is complicated – who knew real estate taxes would be so complicated?
I then ask, “who told you that you are not over-assessed on your home [or factory or gas station or office]?”

I am often met with similar responses. If you got your answer from the Assessor or County website, it’s not going to give you accurate information. The websites are created by the Assessors and often have misleading information – old, undated and often wrong market values. You need someone experienced to guide you through the process. Due diligence is not only for Fortune 500 mergers. Good investigating skills will put you ahead of the game. Do it right and you will be rewarded with lower taxes or by the fact that you are being assessed correctly and are not getting taken advantage of by the system.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Nassau County School Tax Increase

The Nassau County school tax rates, as of October 1, 2017, increased an average of 5% for residences. A typical $10,000 school tax bill from last year will be $10,500 this year. The Nassau school tax rates for commercial properties had a big increase last year, averaging 11%. This year, another 5% increase on average is expected. Therefore, a typical $25,000 commercial tax bill from last year will be $26,250 this year.

The tax rate increases are due, in part, because school budgets increased and many residential and commercial properties received assessment reductions. Having less total assessments in the school district causes the tax rate to increase to meet the budget.

The reason for the substantial commercial tax rate increase is in great measure due to the now 2 year old Disputed Assessment Fund (DAF). Every commercial property received the increase and those properties that protested have part of their taxes set aside for possible refunds.

The expectation is that the general taxes will increase at least the same in January.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Higher Nassau County Taxes on the Way

Be on the lookout: October 1, 2017 is the date for the first half 2017/18 school tax bill in Nassau County.  If a protest, grievance, or complaint to the real estate tax assessment was filed in January 2016 (that’s right, 22 months ago), you might see a lower assessment on the tax bill.  Of course, you might also see a higher tax rate.

If you do not receive the tax bill directly, go to:,  and check it out.
In Suffolk County, you will need to visit or call the individual town for your current assessment. Those higher taxes will come in the December bill.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Real Property Valuation – Artificial Intelligence

It’s coming… Actually, it’s already here.  Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to value properties for tax assessment of real property taxes.  If sales in your neighborhood are going up, chances are that when re-assessment comes, your taxes will go up.  Computer software is precise when analyzing real property data, taking hundreds of sales prices and making comparisons that include number of bedrooms and bathrooms and land sizes.

What AI cannot do however, is identify old kitchen or bathroom appliances or 1960’s room colors or landscaping. It takes a human being, and really a land valuation appraiser or attorney, to determine traffic and parking problems or access to schools, shopping and public transportation.  There is a reason why so many commercial and residential properties receive real estate tax assessment reductions – AI alone does not do a good job of valuing real property.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Real Estate Tax Reductions Can’t Be Won if Authorizations Aren’t Signed & Submitted

This year as in every other year for the past 36 years; I have filed real estate tax protests a/k/a grievances a/k/a complaints to the dozens of assessor’s offices in the metropolitan area.
The authorization to file for tax assessment reduction must be signed by an aggrieved party. Every year some of the firm’s clients do not send back to us a timely signed authorization. It isunintentional, in most cases, but still surprisingly neglectful for a taxpayer to not timely authorize the filing of the protest to the tax assessment.
In those cases, the attorney in charge of the proceeding typically signs the authorization, as the attorney, in order for the protest to be filed. Failure to timely file the protest is fatal; no assessment reduction or refund can be obtained that year. In most assessing jurisdictions there is a grace period to file an authorization when signed by the aggrieved taxpayer.
I stress every year that all of our clients that seek assessment reduction timely send us the signed authorization – remember failure is fatal.