Nassau County’s Property Tax Assessment System is in shambles, and if you have not regularly challenged your assessments, your taxes have likely increased to pay for the assessment reductions of homeowners who have successfully grieved their assessments. In fact, a recent Newsday report cited a $1.7 billion shift in taxes from property owners who won assessment challenges filed since the county’s assessment overhaul began in 2010 to those who did not successfully challenge their assessments. In response to this unfair shift in the property tax burden, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is holding 20 taxpayer forums focused on helping homeowners to challenge their property tax assessments.
“Nassau County, not the Town of Hempstead, sets your property tax assessments,” stated Clavin. “But, we can help homeowners avoid becoming victims of the county’s unfair and inequitable assessment system by educating property owners on the importance of challenging assessments routinely. What’s more, I am hosting 20 taxpayer seminars focused on demonstrating precisely how property owners may go about challenging their assessments.”
Earlier this year, a Newsday report uncovered unequal treatment among those who challenged their property tax assessments regularly in Nassau and those who did not. Further, the report even uncovered disparate treatment among those who did challenge on an ongoing basis. In fact, some homes that were the subject of regular challenges were deemed ineligible for what amounted to assessment reductions of 5 to 9 percent annually under the county’s “Carry Forward” provision. Unfortunately, the criteria of eligibility appear to change frequently, and the changes have not been shared with the public.
If your home is deemed ineligible, it will receive a new appraisal and a valuation readjustment that takes into account the neighborhood’s real estate market. Since most Long Island neighborhoods have been increasing in value, the new valuation is often higher, resulting in the same percent reduction from a higher price. By not challenging your home’s assessment, Nassau County will continue to take advantage of uninformed homeowners.
“Remember, your assessment can only be lowered as the result of a challenge, it can never be raised,” said Clavin.
“A few things are abundantly clear when it comes to Nassau’s assessment system,” announced Clavin. “The system is broken, it is rife with inequity, and many homeowners have been penalized with higher taxes to pay for the assessment reductions of neighbors who have challenged their assessments. One more thing is clear…Nassau has been secretive about the eligibility criteria for the ‘Carry Forward’ of assessment reductions, resulting in tax inequity even among those who have challenged assessments.”
Clavin noted that Nassau County’s broken assessment system makes it more important than ever for homeowners to challenge their assessments every year. He indicated that while challenging your assessment every year will not correct the underlying inequities in the system or guarantee a fair valuation, it is the best protection available when it comes to protecting your home from over assessment and property owners from unwarranted property tax increases.
“While Nassau’s inequitable assessment system needs a genuine overhaul based upon regularly updated market based valuations, homeowners need to take steps to protect themselves, to the extent possible, through challenging their property tax assessments each and every year,” said Clavin. “I encourage residents to attend one of my taxpayer forums to learn how to grieve their taxes.”
The free taxpayer forums have a strong focus on sharing “how to” information on challenging assessments. Outlining a step-by-step process on filing the grievance, the seminars will also offer information on property tax exemptions and other important information for property owners.
The Receiver of Taxes will be holding free taxpayer forums at the following locations:
· December 5 - 12:15 PM, Garden City Public Library, 60 Seventh St., Garden City
· December 7 - 7 PM, Valley Stream Village Hall, 123 S. Central Ave., Valley Stream
· January 4 - 1 PM, Wantagh Library, 3285 Park Ave., Wantagh
· January 8 - 2 PM, Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont
· January 8 - 7 PM, Oceanside Public Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside
· January 10 - 7 PM, Malverne Public Library, 61 St. Thomas Pl. Malverne
· January 12 - 1 PM, Merrick Public Library, 2279 Merrick Ave., Merrick
· January 16 - 7 PM, Floral Park Public Library, 17 Caroline Ave., Floral Park
· January 18 - 7 PM, Levittown Library, 1 Blue Grass Lane, Levittown
· January 22 - 7 PM, Garden City Public Library, 60 Seventh St., Garden City
· January 25 - 7 PM, Island Park Library, 176 Long Beach Rd., Island Park
· January 26 - 2 PM, Oceanside Public Library, 390 Davison Ave., Oceanside
· January 30 - 7 PM, Baldwin Public Library, 2385 Grand Ave., Baldwin
· January 31 - 6:30 PM, Freeport Memorial Library, 144 W. Merrick Rd., Freeport
· February 1 - 7 PM, Bellmore Public Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore
· February 5 - 1 PM, East Meadow Public Library, 1186 Front St., East Meadow
· February 6 - 2 PM, Baldwin Public Library, 2385 Grand Ave., Baldwin
· February 8 - 7 PM, Hempstead Public Library, 115 Nichols Ct., Hempstead
· February 9, 1 PM, Bellmore Public Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore
· February 13 - 2 PM, Franklin Square Public Library, 19 Lincoln Road, Franklin Square
· February 15 - 1 PM & 7 PM, West Hempstead Library, 500 Hempstead Ave., West Hempstead
“Nassau County’s property tax assessment system is flawed and out of control,” concluded Clavin. “It is time to take action by informing our residents on how they can fight back. Come on down to one of my free taxpayer forums, together we can take steps to protect ourselves from being victimized by unwarranted tax increases that are the result of an inequitable assessment system.”