How to Challenge Your Property Assessment

By Town Supervisor George Hoehmann

So it’s that time of year to review the assessment of your property. Every year, under New York State Real Property Tax law, property owners have the ability to question their assessment for free. Many people do not realize that this is something that you can do on your own and will hire companies to do it for them. These companies take advantage of the law and make a living as they are paid fees often equal to a percentage of whatever the adjustment may be for the property. 

The process is called “Grievance Day” and it is always the fourth Tuesday in May. This year it is May 24th.

It is free to engage in this process. Here is how it works: all you have to do is invest the time necessary to examine if you have a case. It does require the property owner to do some homework, but it could potentially save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Look at your tax bill and find your ‘Assessed Value’; once you find it do the following:

Divide that by the 2022 Residential Assessment Ratio which is 0.2705. The answer to this simple calculation tells you what the assessor’s full value is for the property. If you feel that is too high based on the current real estate market, then you should file a

Grievance with supporting comparable sales easily found on Zillow and other real estate sites. You can also submit a recent appraisal or a competitive market analysis from a broker, which proves a lower value.

So if you want to make a case, simply fill out the Grievance form, the RP-524 form, which can be found online on the Clarkstown Town Assessor’s web page (clarkstown.gov/assessor).  For assistance, please call the Assessor’s office at (845) 639-2031.

After filing the form out at the Office of the Assessor, ask for an appointment time on May 24th to be heard by the Board of Assessment Review. This is an informal hearing where you can show your evidence and state why a lower assessment is warranted. The Board of Assessment Review is an independent body of local residents who are appointed by the Supervisor and Town Board, and are very familiar with the current Real Estate Market. They have been trained to hear the facts of each case and how to determine if the request is warranted or not.  A number of these folks are real estate professionals or those who understand the real estate market. If an adjustment is warranted the board of assessment review will make a change and the person’s taxes will be lowered. Additionally, there is no risk of your taxes being raised as the review does not work that way, it can only lower your assessment which in turn will lower your taxes. All property owners have the right to this administrative review of their assessment under the New York State Constitution, Article 16.

While this is not the sexiest topic, as Supervisor I felt compelled to ask our Assessor for the information to offer to our residents so you can make the decision to review your own assessment. If you do the homework, you might find that an adjustment is warranted and it could save you money. The only caveat is that housing values have risen dramatically, so making a case may be harder. 

However, it is possible that even despite the record increase in property values, you might have an assessment that is high. If you do and follow the steps on May 24 th , you can make a case and seek a reduction that will save you money this year and every year going forward.