Lowering Property Taxes on a Westchester County Home

J Philip Faranda February 22, 2010

Also known as grieving property taxes or tax certiorari, having your home re assessed is becoming commonplace in Westchester as people realize that their local government will happily raise their taxes when the market is up, but won’t break a sweat lowering them when it is in decline. There are three typical ways Westchester property owners lower their taxes, but all have the same common process:

 

  • You meet with the tax assessor;
  • You show them that your home is valued less than its assessed value, typically with a recent appraisal or contract of sale;
  • They lower the assessment for the following tax year. 
Here are the three typical approaches:
  1. Attend your town’s designated grieving or appeal day. This is often in the Spring, but you can get the exact sate by contacting your assessor’s office. You go before the board, and make your case. You should have either your recent contract of sale, an appraisal of the home, or both if you have recently bought. If you missed the appeal day or bought after it passed, you can still make an appointment with the assessor’s office and make your case. 
  2. Hire an attorney to do a tax certiorari. This is essentially the same thing in outcome, but is often done at the court level in what is called a Small Claims Assessment Review. 
  3. Hire a company that doe tax relief. These are typically experience people in the process who will do everything for you for a fee (typically 1/2 the first year’s reduction). Some will go to court as well to get the job done.  

If you are selling your home and you are over assessed, your high tax bill is a liability in the sale. If you buy a home and the sale price is below the assessed value, you should begin the process as soon as possible. Everyone should pay their fair share, but the operative word is fair. 

 

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