Time is running out for eligible counties and municipalities to provide tax relief to property owners affected by Superstorm Sandy. On October 22, 2013, Governor Cuomo signed the Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act (“Assessment Relief Act”). The Assessment Relief Act aims to provide property tax relief to property owners that are still trying to recover from the effects of Superstorm Sandy by allowing municipalities to lower their 2012-13 tax assessment of properties that lost at least 50% of their structural value due to the storm. Assessment relief for property owners whose buildings and other property improvements lost less that 50% value will be available only where eligible municipalities elect to offer such relief.
Since the deadline for the affected assessing units to finalize assessments and determine tax bills has expired (which has the effect of prohibiting them from altering assessments administratively), the Assessment Relief Act creates an out for property owners in storm-affected areas to lower their tax assessments so that they are not based on pre-Sandy values. To take advantage of this legislation, eligible counties, municipalities and school districts must pass a local law, ordinance or resolution (for school districts) electing to provide assessment relief by December 6, 2013 (45 calendar days after the act was signed by the Governor). Eligible counties are those counties covered by President Obama’s declaration of a major disaster for the State of New York (FEMA-4085-DR): Greene, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. Property owners in participating municipalities will have until January 1, 2014 (90 calendar days after the act was signed by the Governor) to apply for assessment relief in a written request to their local assessor using form RP-5849-APP. After review, the assessor will classify the loss into one of the ranges in the table below.
|Loss of Improved Value||Reduction in Taxable Assessed Value of Buildings, etc.|
|At least 10% but less than 20%||
15% (by local option only)
|At least 20% but less than 30%||
25% (by local option only)
|At least 30% but less than 40%||
35% (by local option only)
|At least 40% but less than 50%||
45% (by local option only)
|At least 50% but less than 60%||
|At least 60% but less than 70%||
|At least 70% but less than 80%||
|At least 80% but less than 90%||
|At least 90% but less than 100%||
Reduced to 0
(Many thanks to Christopher W. Shishko, Esq. at Guercio & Guercio, LLP for providing his assitance with this post).