Tuesday, January 2, 2018
A new year and a new higher real estate tax assessment! This is certainly a difficult way for Laura Curran’s Democratic Administration to start off the New Year – being handed a broken system and having to handle numerous complaints from angry residents who don’t understand that it will take time to correct the underlying tax assessment problem in Nassau County.
In addition to residential real estate tax assessments, there are hundreds of millions of dollars owed for overpayment of real estate taxes to commercial property owners. It will take some imaginative thinking to reform the way the assessment system has “not worked” the last eight years. The challenge will be to correct inaccurate assessments early, before years of excessive taxes are collected. There is also a challenge to taxpayers to keep good records and to be in a position to prove over assessments, if warranted. The Nassau and New York City protest period begins now and is open until February 28, 2018. Suffolk protests start in May.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Congress has delivered an expensive and unwanted gift to New Yorkers. Everybody in the United States can deduct the cost of their residential and commercial property taxes and their state income taxes. But now there is a cap of $10,000 in total. If your property tax is $12,000 you can only deduct $10,000 and you cannot deduct any of your New York State or New York City income taxes. In it more imperative this year than ever to have your property taxes checked in Nassau, Suffolk, New York City and villages to make sure you are not being assessed too much. Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Starting in 2013, Nassau County sought to raise revenues by drastically increasing penalties against commercial property owners who they claim failed to file an Annual Statement of Income and Expenses (ASIE).
In addition to crippling fines, the County also threatened to slap liens on the properties.
The County’s stated purpose was to secure more and better information with which to set fair and accurate assessments. Though the County offered no proof about the amount of data required or the impact of the missing ASIE information on the Assessor, suddenly missing or incomplete data was the root of all of the County’s famous assessment woes.
However, over the course of a year’s worth of litigation a secondary rationale emerged: penalizing commercial property owners based on the value of their property could deliver multimillions into the County’s chronically empty coffers.
Ultimately, the Court found that none of the money collected was ever allocated for assessment purposes. This was an illegal “backdoor” tax from the jump.
Without approval from Albany, Nassau County could not legally implement this new tax on commercial property owners.
Property owners who feared liens that would have held their properties hostage have already paid over $1,000,000 to the County pursuant to this unlawful cash-grab.
An appeal by the County seems inevitable, but in the meantime, Nassau’s beleaguered commercial property owners have an early Christmas gift.
If you own ANY property in Nassau County, you owe it to yourself to have a professional review your real estate tax burden. Let Meyer Suozzi provide you with a free property tax checkup. Paying taxes is your obligation. Paying only your fair share is your right (but ONLY if you enforce it)!
Friday, November 17, 2017
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
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
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
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.