Header graphic for print
Tax Assessment & Condemnation Report

Category Archives: Assessments

Subscribe to Assessments RSS Feed

High Court Will Hear Religious Exemption Case

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions

As reported in an earlier post, entitled New York Pagan Phryganium Wins Real Property Tax Assessment Appeal,  the Third Department recently held that the Town of Catskill improperly denied a pagan religious group a real property tax exemption under 420-a.  See Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc. v. McCoy 975 N.Y.S.2d 251.  In our previous… Continue Reading

Is Property Tax Reform Finally Coming to New York?

Posted in Assessments, Valuation

In November 2013, Governor Cuomo released the Final Report of the New York State Tax Reform and Fairness Commission regarding tax reform. One week later, the New York State Senate Republican Conference Tax Policy Review & Reform Initiative issued a Preliminary Report regarding the same issue. Among other tax reforms, each report recommended action to reform New… Continue Reading

New York Pagan Phryganium Wins Real Property Tax Assessment Appeal

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions

In an unexpected turn of events, the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department recently held in favor of a newly founded pagan religion seeking a real property tax exemption. In 1999, Rev. Mother Cathryn Platine founded the religion Maetreum of Cybele, which focuses on the obligation to do charitable works and the belief that the… Continue Reading

Two Rights Make War: The Expansion of the Veteran’s Exemption vs The Tax Levy

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions, School Districts

In December of 2013 the Legislature expanded Real Property Tax Law Section 458-a. This revision allows school districts, by local option after a public hearing, to offer veterans a significant property tax exemption. A veteran “qualifies” for this exemption if he or she served in active military, naval or air service during a period of war or… Continue Reading

Superstorm Sandy Downstate Tax Relief

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Valuation

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… Continue Reading

WITA Tackles What Happens When Government Puts Tax Cuts Ahead of Assessment Equity

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions

On September 25, 2013, 60 women from across New York State convened to hear from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef  concerning the Legislature’s attempts to rectify New York’s real property tax law woes. However, it was not a forum centered around tax cuts and tax breaks – which is certainly the more popular and media-focused topic across… Continue Reading

Are Property Taxes Your Handicap? How Course Assessments Affect Your Green Fees

Posted in Assessments, Valuation

Mother nature played more than a few double bogies with the weather here in New York this summer, keeping golfers and greens keepers across the region on their toes (and, more frequently, on the cart paths only). Weather-dependent business enterprises like golf courses, ski resorts and theme parks in upstate New York have a rough time depending on the weather for their… Continue Reading

Lead It Be?

Posted in Assessments

Thanks to Matter of Roth v. City of Syracuse, No. 110, NYLJ 1202603746958 (June 11, 2013, New York Court of Appeals), 2013 NY Slip Op 04271, we now know that the mere presence of lead based paint – without more – is insufficient to affect a property’s value. In the Roth case, the petitioner alleged that Respondent City of… Continue Reading

A Freeze By Any Other Name Isn’t So Cold…NY’s Plan to Freeze Senior’s Assessments Thawing Quickly

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions

Earlier this year lawmakers re-introduced legislation proposing to cap real property tax assessments for seniors 70 years old or older – indefinitely. Assembly Bill A04624, sponsored by Assemblyman Raymond Walter (District 146), would amend New York Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) by adding a new section, RPTL Section 467-G, which would expressly authorize a cap on the real property tax assessments… Continue Reading

It’s Grievance Time?

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Uncategorized

Surprise! Yeah, it’s grievance time for most towns and some cities in New York (May 28th is “the day”).  Awhile ago we blogged about what to do about your assessment if you think it is unfair or excessive or you’ve been short-changed on an exemption. Now, here’s what not to do. 1. Don’t say that your assessment is too high… Continue Reading

Update: NYSUT Makes Good On Litigation Threat

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions, School Districts, Valuation

On February 19th, 2013, the New York State Teacher’s Union (NYSUT) made good on its threat to challenge Cuomo’s property tax cap on schools by commencing an action in Supreme Court. The lawsuit, spearheaded by a plaintiffs group composed of teachers, taxpayers, and even parents, alleges in a 50-page complaint how Cumo’s tax cap harms school districts that serve low-income areas (creates… Continue Reading

The Impact of Environmental Contamination on Assessed Value

Posted in Assessments, Valuation

Property owners should be aware of the impact that contamination plays in assessing the value of their property for tax purposes. It is frequently the case that assessed value does not take contamination into account.  For this reason, owners whose land suffers from contamination may well be entitled to an assessment reduction. The New York State Constitution… Continue Reading

Weight vs. Sufficency: What’s Required of Appriaser under 202.59 Comes Under Attack

Posted in Assessments, Valuation

If you are anything like me, you miss the ORPTS Reporter and the days when you’d see lengthy decisions from Hons. Thomas A. Dickerson and John R. LaCava that methodically and meticulously reviewed various portions of the Real Property Tax Law (“RPTL”). So, I get a little excited when the Appellate Division hands down a 9-page decision… Continue Reading

Op Ed from Syracuse’s Mayor, Stephanie Minor, Hints That RPTL Reform Is Needed

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions, School Districts, Valuation

A recent New York Time’s Op Ed post on February 13, 2013 from City of Syracuse Mayor, Stephanie Minor, states that “the model of using property taxes to finance schools, police, fire, sanitation and other services is no longer sustainable.” For years, we have heard from assessors, attorneys and appraisers heavily involved in assessment litigation that NYS needs to find another way… Continue Reading

Onondaga County Eliminates Ability to Search Property Tax Database by Property Owner Name

Posted in Assessments, Uncategorized

For many years, county websites across New York State have maintained real property tax information databases that are easily searchable by property owner name, address or tax map parcel number. Searching one of these databases by name would quickly call up a list of all properties owned by that person within the entire county. Recently,… Continue Reading

Fiber Optic Cables Are Not Taxable Real Property

Posted in Assessments, Utilities, Valuation

As discussed in our prior post, cows might be considered assessable or taxable real property under Section 102(12) of the Real Property Tax Law. See RCN v. Frankel, (1st Dept. 2012). However, fiber optic cables are not assessable real property under the same statute. At least that is what the First Department concluded in RCN NY Communications, LLC v. Tax… Continue Reading

The Legal Definiton of Real Property – Is The Law Evolving At The Same Rate As Technology?

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions, Utilities, Valuation

Are cows assessable real property under RPTL 102(12)(f)? Sounds ridiculous, but a recent ruling by the First Department could result in the answer to this question being “yes.” In November, the First Department analyzed  the scope of “power generating apparatus” under RPTL 102(12)(f) in RCN Telecom Services of New York, LP v. Frankel (2012 NY Slip Op 07890, 1st Dept. November… Continue Reading

Real Property Tax Legislation To Curb The Devastation From Hurricane Sandy

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions

  On Monday, December 10, 2012, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced legislation to the New York State Assembly that would provide property tax relief to New York City home owners and businesses that sustained damage to their property as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  This piece of legislation, which is entitled “The New York City… Continue Reading

Counties Taking An Active Roll In Property Tax Appeals – Why It Has Taken So Long

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Settlement

“The times they are a-changin’”. In our field, this is best evidenced by upstate New York counties taking an active roll in defending property tax assessment appeals. Although counties in upstate New York have no assessment function and generally are responsible for only a fraction of any property tax refunds owed, lately it seems as though counties feel like they have been hung out to dry (or so… Continue Reading

NY’s Only Women In (tax) Assessment Group Discusses the Politics of Revaluations

Posted in Assessments, Assessors

New York’s only group for women in the field of property valuation and property tax assessment met on November 14, 2012 to discuss the politics of town-wide property reassessments and revaluations. During the session, which was transmitted via video conferencing to several sites across New York State, assessors Heather Garner and Lezli Parsons, and Cayuga County… Continue Reading

Nassau Taxpayers Expecting Refunds May Have to Wait Until 2013 for Relief

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Settlement

On August 8, 2012 Nassau County filed a Notice of Appeal, which stayed Judge Thomas Adams’ Order that required the County to pay property tax refunds within 60 days, or risk having its bank accounts seized. While the County stated it filed the notice of appeal to preserve its rights, the appeal only prolongs the inevitable: the County must return to its… Continue Reading