Challenging Your Assessment: What You Can Do if You Feel Your Assessment is Incorrect
Challenging your assessment can be quite difficult depending on the amount of reduction you may be seeking. If you have an appraisal and think that is enough by all means use that. If you believe you may need more information to prove your case, a process to help a taxpayer obtain some of that information is provided on this website.
These are some of the first steps you should consider.
If you own a one-, two- or three-family residential real property you have options for challenging your assessment:
1. Informal Meeting:
This is an appointment you can make with your local assessor to discuss questions about your assessment. The assessor's manual states appointments can be made anytime of the year although some assessor's prefer only to meet after the tentative roll has been made public on or around May 1st. This is a huge inconvenience and injustice to the property owner as it only gives them about four weeks to review and grieve their assessment. The property owner can research and write down any questions they have before they go to the meeting such as:
a. Review the frequently asked questions section on this website.
b. Review the topics under the Resources section on this website.
c. Write down the questions you have so you do not forget under the stress of the meeting. If you have supporting documentation for your questions, show that to the assessor.
d. If you have an appraisal and are going to use it for evidence, see the section in "Resources - Appraisals - Helpful or Hurtful?" on this website.
e. Request copies of all the information the assessor has to offer.
2. Board of Assessment Review
If you can not receive satisfaction from the informal meeting with the assessor and want to proceed with your grievance you will need to complete the following:
Fill out a grievance form for the Board of Assessment Review. This is called an RP-524 form. On the RP-524 form, complete page one. On page two, put a check mark on the line for #7. Before you fill out the questions for Part Three: Grounds for Complaint, refer to our sections in "Resources - Grieving by Unequal Assessment and Grieving by Excessive Assessment". Once you have completed the comparison process you can fill in the blanks for #3 and #4. On page four, complete Part 4 (if necessary). Complete Part 5. Do not sign Part 6 unless you are completely satisfied with the stipulation. If you sign the stipulation your grievance is over and final for that year. You can no longer go before a Board of Assessment Review or SCAR. (See links below)
The grievance form should be filled out as soon as possible to be sure you will have an appointment before the local Board of Assessment Review. Additional information can be presented to the Board at the time of the meeting. If you decide to submit your form by mail, electronically or by person it must be received no later than Grievance Day for your town. Grievance Day is generally the fourth Tuesday in May for most towns. You can find your town's Grievance Day on this website by going to "Resources" and selecting the section for "NYS Village, Town & County Assessment Calendars." No matter how you file the grievance form be sure to get a receipt and time stamp.
The Board of Assessment Review prefers the property owner to be present at the meeting to ask any questions about the property that may arise. Any changes that are made to an assessment after Grievance Day that are not going to Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) will not take effect until the next assessment year.
3. Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR)
If you still have not received satisfaction you can file for a Small Claims Assessment Review meeting. This is a meeting between the property owner, the assessor and a Hearing Officer. You can explain your grievance to an impartial judge who will then review the case. The cost is $30.00. In order to file for a Small Claims Assessment Review, you must present your grievance before your local Board of Assessment Review first.
IMPORTANT: You can use either the Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Reader* to fill out the application.
*You must use Microsoft's Internet Explorer Browser when working with Foxit.