Understanding Real Property Assessments
The amount of the real property assessment of a parcel of property directly impacts the amount of taxes payable on the parcel. In order to lower the taxes on a parcel of property, you must obtain a reduction in the assessment of the parcel.
Real property assessments represent a percentage of the “market value” of a parcel of property. Market value is defined as the most probable price a parcel of property would sell for in a competitive and open market.
The first step in the process of challenging your real property assessment is to determine the market value indicated by the assessment, bearing in mind that the assessment is a percentage, or fraction, of the market value.
This market value is determined by dividing the real property assessment by the Town’s 2017 Equalization Rate of 58% The Equalization Rate is adjusted by New York State annually. The valuation date used for the current 2017/18 tax year is July 1, 2016.
The next step in attempting to lower the taxes on a parcel of property is to determine the actual market value, as of July 1, 2016. The actual market value of a parcel of real property can be determined in a variety of ways, one of which is an arms length transaction. Another way to determine market value is an appraisal using sales at the time of evaluation date. In the absence of a recent sale price, a real property appraisal is the next best way to determine actual market value.
Once you have determined that the actual market value of a parcel of real property is lower than the market value indicated by the assessment, you must file a complaint (often termed a “Grievance”) with the Assessor’s Office during the general complaint period, which is within a very specific and defined time-frame. The fourth Tuesday of May each year is the date on which the Town of Halfmoon Board of Assessment Review considers reducing assessments and is the deadline to file a complaint. Failure to file the complaint by the deadline forecloses any review or consideration of the complaint by the Board of Assessment Review. A late filed complaint requires immediate dismissal.
No faxed or emailed copies of the grievance complaint will be accepted by the Assessor’s Office during the complaint filing period. Original copies of the grievance complaint must be mailed or personally delivered to the Assessor’s Office at the Stillwater Town Hall during any complaint period so as to arrive at the Assessor’s Office on or before the applicable deadline which is the meeting date of the Board of Assessment Review. Proof of receipt by the Assessor’s Office will only be acknowledged by presenting a copy of the complaint date-stamped by the Assessor’s Office.