From You the Taxpayer!  Your Comments & Suggestions

We're hearing from taxpayers all across Upstate New York and you're mad and frustrated. We are sharing some of your concerns and stories here.

Your Frustrations in Fighting for Fair Taxation

I called the town of Irondequoit and they stated that they are working on this (decisions after grievance day) and the letters.  They indicated that the Board is still working with taxpayers and that all letters will be mailed next week and that we will have 30 days from the date of the letter not from July 1st. ...I have had some friends who have filed and they are receiving the same response. One friend is afraid to rock the boat because he has had a "run in" already with the assessor.  He talked with the  Supervisor of the Town who was not helpful and did not care.I do feel that the new assessor will retaliate if you cross her.
"we handed our greiviance into the assesment office in Irondequoit the day before the cutoff date and we were told that they would would call us for an appointment . that was 2 weeks ago ,we are still waiting .what should we do ?????"
I just had my meeting the other night. I’m petrified to see what they’re gonna do."
"I was told by the town assessor because I had an appraisal,an inspection, 5 realtor comps and a contractor estimate(for updates and repairs est. At $35,000 to bring it to code), that we more than enough to get it lowered.... I was told by the board I didn't give them enough information to lower my assessment ...."
You may be interested to know that my Town Board hearing to challenge my tax assessment was a complete joke. I was well prepared and one board member said I gave a good presentation. I did not have the impression that other two board members were really interested. The town Assessor actually said in the meeting that my request was denied. The town Assessor was condescending and never reviewed any of my material, instead constantly starring at a computer screen. This Assessor never returned an email to the office. When I produced a worksheet showing that my land assessment alone rose 143%, when my neighbor's land assessment rose only 56%. I was told that it was irrelevant and that I had to consider only the total assessment.For my land assessment, I used the information on your site, breaking it down to cost per one-tenth acre. The study I did clearly showed that the smaller the parcel, the greater the distortion in pricing.
Something has to be done about the unfair, and unequal land assessments in New York State, I don't know if anyone else has noticed the discrepancies, but here is what I have been looking into. Looking at properties on my road for comparison, I noticed there is no rhyme or reason behind the land assessments. One house at  with 6.37 acres is assessed at $4,819 per Acre, the house next door with 3.00 acres is assessed at $9,366 per acre; he is paying almost twice as much per acre, what am I missing here, why so big of a discrepancy? This holds true for every piece of property I looked into.... it appears that Monroe County has no set of standards by which they go by when it comes to assessing Land values, and I assume it is the same all over New York State. It should not be to hard to come up with standards for assessing land that Assessors can go by; you have Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Agricultural, Wooded Land, swamp Land etc. The reason they do not want a fair system to go by is, because there is big money for the State in confusion, working for the people, yeah right tell me another lie. 
Ours went down after being way overassessed for the past 5 years. We lost nearly $4k in overpaid taxes. When the BAR first heard our case 5 years ago, they ignored the data we gave them. They also refused to tell us how they came came to the final assessed value. In fact the town supervisor refused to give us the name of the board members, told us we couldn’t know their decision factors and cited “executive privilege.” When we challenged that, he then said the BAR did not take notes and therefore there was nothing to share. Other than us having a different assessor than 5 years ago, and repeatedly inviting him to view our property, I don’t know why this year they decided to finally assess it reasonably. Maybe what your site and campaign is doing is having an impact?
"I got my propaganda budget news letter from the Greece School District. 75% of the budget will pay for union salaries and benefits. 25% will have to pay for everything else like books, gas & electric, our transportation dept, building repairs and maintenance on all our schools and so on. The budget for next ur is $231. Million for 10,500 kids. $22,000 per student. More per yr than a lot of colleges."
"Makes perfect sense why so much new construction are masquerading as "condominiums. Incredible property tax loophole, huge profit incentive for both builder and owner - greatest benefit to multi-million $$ properties. Middle class burdened even further so they will continue to migrate out. Fair share of property taxes not being collected. I believe a 60 minute report is in order....."
"The assessor in my town openly stated at Grievance 'if the BAR reduces a property he will jack it back up and add some more because they came to grievance!'"
My husband and I just bought a new house in the wonderful town of Parma in Monroe County. We took possession of the house tonight. As we walked in the door full of excitement that feeling quickly changed as I went through some mail that had been there waiting for us. The first piece of mail that I read is a notification that our assessment went up $40,000!!!!! I want to cry. I know our taxes are going to go up significantly. This is insane. How do we fight this?! What do we do?! Help. How can anyone afford this?? HELPPPPPSincerely,A fed up New Yorker!
"Nothing will change if people don’t vote. This guy has done nothing good for the state or it’s residents. Please please please people go vote and let our voices be heard...it’s time for a change!"
"Taxing the working class spenders out. All of my retirement age friends either have left (8+) or are planning to do so (many, many more)within the next five years. Me, too. Taking our pensions and spending cash with us to states that give us approximately 30% more of our own cash to spend in their states."
"I deeply appreciate your focusing on the overburdened property tax issue we face here in New York State.  While I am okay with my current assessment, as I believe that the local assessor has correctly valued my property at current market value, I am sick and tired of paying the extremely high school taxes.  I believe that the efforts of your organization would be better spent and more beneficial if you were to work on getting school taxes off the backs of property owners and shift it onto either an income tax, or sales tax or, a combination of both.  This way local real estate taxes go to support local government, roads and infrastructure, and the likes while school costs would be paid by ALL people who either don't have to pay school taxes as they rent their property or those who have multiple occupants in a rental property.  Make public schools funded by the public, NOT property owners.  I would think that just as much, if not more, would be raised through sales and/or income taxes than from property owners.  This tax is the unfair tax we property owners face as 60% or more go to schools.  This would also make the teachers unions and school boards have more accountability if they were to receive funds from the department of taxation and finance in Albany, under strict scrutiny rather than local school boards, teachers and the likes taking money from property owners."
"My assessment went up so I talked to assessor’s office and they have no more appointments for informal hearings and I was told to just drop off papers like pictures.  Also asked about the comparibles used and she said just look at the houses in my neighborhood and see what they sold for and use them I asked her were they just like my house and she said whatever ones sold. This is just unbelievable and they keep saying our taxes might not go up ? Thank you so much for looking at this !!"You can’t find anyone accountable in New York they make deals in (the) back room and put people at a desk who don’t have the answer during business hours go to a meeting it gets pushed off as a waste of time and taxes but the money is going somewhere isn’t it?"--Irondequoit NY property owner
"Property tax can never be fair it is a fundamentally flawed and a failed policy, it is time to end it and stop all the suffering it has caused to all involved who pay it. The government uses it to force money from the people for weak or nonexisting services, their control over your property is a form of financial slavery and there is nothing free about it. It is time to wake up, if freedom means anything at all to you."
"Realistically, if you add it up, your paycheck from gross, you are taxed about 30% to the government. Then, NYS sales tax, which is a tax on already taxed money = 8%. Then, how about a fuel tax!!! Not quite sure how much that is but lets start at say 15% on every dollar you spend on fuel. That too is already taxed money. Then an outrageous property/school tax of we will estimate at an average of 10%. Again, on already taxed money. So, conservatively speaking, when you add it up, about 60% tax rate here in New York state.Then, add the high crime rate and corruption at the government level and the class of people this all attracts/supports. It is a wonder that we can survive. My wife and I are empty nesters and are considering making the move. Trouble is, I do not want to move at age 66. It is a real hassle."
"I just can’t express how devastating these new assessments in Livingston County will be…..between that and not deducting more than 10,000 for taxes and mortgage interest….it will truly devastate upstate new york."
"I looked at homes a few times but could not justify paying $5000 a year in taxes on a $100,000 home. Other states property appreciate in value enough to cover most if not all the taxes paid on the house if and when selling, not in NY."
"my county, Chenango, has one of the highest drop offs on the chart,, property and school taxes are out of control and there never a year without an increase,, property values have dropped significantly and they keep raising the taxes and assessments never go down."
"I have talked to family and friends in other states about how low property taxes can be. Sometimes less than $1000.00 in total per year. Property owners in NY face the unfair burden of funding the public schools. Because of this, inner city schools with low tax base are underfunded and suburban schools with fat budgets overwhelm middle class and senior home owners with high property taxes. On a home assessed for $110,000.00 in the town of Greece NY your total taxes could be between $4000.00 and $5000.00 per year. In 25 years you could have purchased another house or funded your retirement."
"Our tax levy out paces our actual mortgage. It's going to be like paying rent for a 2 bedroom apartment for life. Our tax levy will increase by close to $550 dollars this year if not more. That's not the total...THAT'S the Increase. Yet these ... in Irondequoit feel we can afford to build a new community center that no doubt all of us will pay for as well. I can contest till I'm blue in the face but they are going to come back using properties people have over spent on as comparables. Unless someone really moves to change how assessments are done we are all going to continue to be rather powerless."
"We have not sold our property in the last five years but we purchased it in 2007 before the collapse.  Our issue is that the tax rolls are not reevaluated to assess property equitably among all owners in the district.  Our assessment is based on what we paid for the property while other surrounding property remains assessed at an earlier price.  We need to find a way to assure that everyone is assessed equitably. "
"If you live in NY you are overtaxed."
They need to stop the star rebate and just lower the Tax bill. The way i look at it is.You pay your tax. Then they pay someone to file it. Then they pay someone to cut you a refund check. Then they pay someone to tax you on that refund....Cut the jobs out and just lower the taxes."
"People may not be happy with my comment, but one of the biggest "rackets" in New York State is the classification of patio homes as condominiums.  We are underwriting the cost of their lower taxes.  I'm a single professional person, similar to most of the people who own the patio homes (some are married, however), so the excuse can't be made with respect to using school district resources, etc.  Why don't I own one?  They are out of my price range.  Only the wealthy (or married with two professional incomes) can afford them. This is another injustice of the New York State property tax system!"
 "I live in a HOA community and our dues pay for Street lights, Paving the street, Plowing, The town of Greece does not do anything so why are our taxes so high?" 
I sent in paperwork 2 years in a row, 2016 and 2017. It was not reviewed in 2016. In 2017 I followed up and spoke with the assessor before the tax roll came out. She said she had not received it but then called back 10 minutes later and said she reviewed it all and would lower it To $145k. I declined that as it should be closer to $120. I then filed for grievance day and was denied a lower assessment following my hearing at grievance day. The amount of information I submitted was nearly an inch thick of paperwork and included dozens of comparables with lower assessments and also estimates of repairs my home needs. I firmly believe the information was never reviewed
Only 20 homes in my town were reassessed this past year, causing my property and school taxes to double while the majority of the residents taxes went down. These 20 reassessed homes are now paying the majority of the tax burden for the town. What can we do about it? The town fathers are telling us they do not see a correction to our assessment in under 3 years. The county has told us our assessment cannot be changed....
"Your local town assessor is hired by the town board to bring in revenue for the town by property assessments. He has no state or county agency to be governed by. He answers only to the town officials that hired him. As long as he can increase assessments and increase the towns revenue, he is doing the job he was hired for. Take it from me, I did all my own countless hours of research, hire a realtor and a lawyer and then took the town assessor to court. I won.. Cost. $1500 My savings $500. plus each year is what my increased assessment would have equaled if I just let the increase happen... It is worth fighting people. Money is tight and the towns need to start cutting back. Pay increases are voted on by, who else, the people getting the increase."
"Of course in NY! Where you are financially penalized for doing anything right! Work hard? Pay more, Own a home, pay more, Own a decent car, pay more....The list can go on and on, but who keeps voting these people in?"
"Every day I see more grants being given out to one thing or the other and I gasp as the size of the grants. So perhaps this is why we all need to be over assessed, and over taxed. it is an amazing situation. But you do have a chance to do something about your assessment, and the resulting taxation. No one is going to do it for u."
"I own a rental home in the Buffalo area. All of the homes in the area are identical yet my house is assessed at $155k while my neighbors are assessed at $120k, $130k and some even less. I have challenged this with the assessor and even filed a formal grievance with the state boards of assessment but was denied a reduced assessment. The reasoning was that I purchased the home for $155k but I believe I overpaid. I sent in paperwork 2 years in a row, 2016 and 2017. It was not reviewed in 2016. In 2017 I followed up and spoke with the assessor before the tax roll came out. She said she had not received it but then called back 10 minutes later and said she reviewed it all and would lower it To $145k. I declined that as it should be closer to $120. I then filed for grievance day and was denied a lower assessment following my hearing at grievance day. The amount of information I submitted was nearly an inch thick of paperwork and included dozens of comparables with lower assessments and also estimates of repairs my home needs. I firmly believe the information was never reviewed."

Your Suggestions

"One way to solve this is to have the State of NY mandate a $10 per parcel tax levy that goes into a separate fund.  This fund is used to pay an independent re assessment of each parcel every 4 years.My problem is we haven't been re assessed in 27 years in Remsen.  There is no way to make it fair until a re assessment is done.  The town doesn't have the money to do it so it never gets done."
"Forcing teachers to contribute to a 401k and their healthcare like the rest of us would alleviate a huge part of the property tax burden. See: NY leads U.S. in cost of teacher benefits."
"A much fairer way to assess homes is by heated square feet, and unheated square feet, this way does not look at the value of a home, and always remains constant, unless of course you add to your home, or vice versa. Every one pays the same rate per square foot whether your house is worth $50,000, or $5,000,000, or if you take care of your house, or you don't, and of course this is the way properties used to be assessed."