Tax Assessment & Condemnation Report

Tax Assessment & Condemnation Report

Category Archives: Assessments

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A School District’s Standing Might Not Be As Clear As We Had Thought

Posted in Assessments, School Districts, Valuation
In 2012 we reported on a decision affirming the conclusion that school districts lack standing to “question the assessments or the method of arriving at the assessed valuation.” Xerox v. Town of Webster, 131 Misc. 2d 817 (Monroe Cty. Sup. Ct. 1986). However, a recent Appellate Division decision suggests otherwise. In Matter of Glens Falls… Continue Reading

Part 2: …But In the Fourth Department, Repeat Filings Are Not Required?

Posted in Assessments, Settlement, Uncategorized, Valuation
In Part 1 of this discussion, we highlighted the Appellate Division, Third Department’s holdings on RPTL’s “freeze” provision in the Highbridge Broadway, LLC v City of Schenectady and Scellen v City of Glens Falls cases. As you’ll recall, these Third Department cases held that property owners must annually file a grievance and petition to preserve their right to an assessment reduction (and any refunds) for the additional… Continue Reading

Part 1: In the Third Department, Annual Filings Are Required

Posted in Assessments, Real Property Tax Refund, School Districts
As we dig out from under an unusually cold and snowy winter, we can’t help but ponder the efficacy of our statutory freeze provision, especially in light of two 2015 Appellate Division cases that seem to have completely opposite holdings on the subject. Take the Real Property Tax Law (“RPTL”) mandate that taxpayers must commence separate tax assessment proceedings for each and… Continue Reading

New York State Amends Real Property Tax Law to Allow School Districts to “Charge Back” Tax Refunds to School District Public Libraries

Posted in Assessments, Real Property Tax Refund, School Districts
Governor Cuomo recently signed a law granting school districts the authority to “charge back” real property tax certiorari refunds to school district public libraries. Prior to the adoption of this law, school districts that levied real property taxes on behalf of school district public libraries were required to pay tax refunds on behalf of both the… Continue Reading

New York Amends Agriculture and Markets Law To Provide Real Property Exemption For Silvopasture

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions
For the first time, New York will classify silvopasture as agricultural land for the purpose of real property tax exemptions. This new classification could result in substantial tax savings for any livestock owner that uses partially-wooded land for livestock grazing. Silvopasturing is the managed production of livestock and timber (or other forest products) on the… Continue Reading

Another NY Appellate Division Holds that Appraisers have “No Right” to Inspect a Private Residence under the Fourth Amendment

Posted in Assessments
We previously reported on a Second Department case that held a municipal agent (including a private appraiser hired by a municipality) is not automatically entitled to an inspection of a private residence to prepare an appraisal report in a real property tax assessment review proceeding. As the holding indicates, the issue requires a balancing of an individual’s right… Continue Reading

How low can you go? Here’s a Clue: RPTL 720(1)

Posted in Assessments, Valuation
  As The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center was gearing up for it’s New Year’s Eve celebration, on December 31, 2014, the Appellate Division (Third Department) handed down a decision in  Village Square of Penna, Inc. v Board of Assessment Review/Town of Colonie. This decision stemmed from the trial court’s September 2013 order granting Petitioner’s (aka,… Continue Reading

One State Explores Imposing Real Property Tax on Nonprofits

Posted in Assessments, Exemptions
In states such as New York, where local governments and public schools are funded by taxes on real property, exemptions are often highly scrutinized by assessors and taxpayers alike.  However, the exemption provided to nonprofit corporations serving the public welfare, such as colleges and universities, hospitals and churches, always appeared inviolate.  The logic is really quite simple… Continue Reading

High Court Affirms Theater, Church’s Entitlement to State’s “Mandatory” Property Tax Exemption

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions, Real Property Tax Refund
The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, recently published decisions in the Maetreum of Cybele v. McCoy and Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Inc. v. Auburn cases.  In these decisions, the Court affirmed that the exemptions provided to religious and charitable organizations by RPTL Section 420-a apply to residential property owned and used to house the organizations’ congregation members or… Continue Reading

High Court Hears A Pair of RPTL § 420-a Cases on October 21, 2014

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Exemptions, Uncategorized
We’re starting off our new blog season after a bit of a break with a recap of two key exemption cases that will be making waves again soon. Specifically, on October 21, 2014 the New York Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in two cases that could alter the landscape of tax exemptions under Real Property Tax Law… Continue Reading

Fourth Amendment precludes Inspection of Private Property even in Assessment Review Litigation

Posted in Assessments, Assessors, Valuation
Recently there has been increasing debate regarding if and when assessing jurisdictions, or its agents, can invade the privacy of New York residents. Even New York’s governor has been impacted by this issue. Last week, the Appellate Division, Second Department weighed in on the very issue of privacy and taxation. Specifically, the issue in Jacobowitz v. Board of Assessors of Cornwall… Continue Reading

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