Case Studies on Grieving by Excessive Assessment

These Case Studies show various processes taken by Warren Leisenring, Jr., a consultant for Tax My Property Fairly and member of a Board of Assessment Review (BAR) in Upstate NY, as he assisted people with their grievances. We hope they are useful resources for taxpayers challenging their assessments.

Excessive Assessment Grievance - Case Study #1

I asked and received an informal meeting for me and the property owner with the assessor in her office. We began the discussion using Unequal Assessment as the argument and I quickly saw a defensive nature with the assessor. I showed the assessor ten comparable properties I had taken from the 2019 final tax roll and five comparable properties from recent sales in that town. I explained to her that the comparisons were done according to the published process recommended by the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance and the Office of Real Property Tax Services in their pamphlet "How to Estimate the Market Value of Your Home." The comparable properties showed the current assessment was approximately $58,000 too high. She paid little attention to that information and made a comment of: "if I were to lower him that much then everyone else on the tax roll would have to make up the difference." I guess it didn't matter that the property owner was paying more than he should. The assessor was convinced that the assessment she had on the property was correct and was not willing to change it. Seeing this was not going to be productive, I motioned to the property owner that we should leave.

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Excessive Assessment Grievance - Case Study #2

This Case Study relates to my experience in the second time I represented the same property owner in grieving their assessment. The first time was a few years ago. I prepared evidence showing the assessment was Unequally Assessed compared to other similar properties on the same assessment roll and explained the evidence to the assessor in an informal meeting. The assessor’s assessment was for $825,000.00 and I had evidence that it should be $460,000.00. After showing the assessor the evidence I had, the assessor and I agreed to an assessment of $575,000.00. A stipulation agreement was signed at that time and it became the new assessment.

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Excessive Assessment Grievance - Case Study #3

This grievance came from central upstate New York. As with the other two Case Studies on Excessive Assessment, all personal information has been excluded for privacy reasons. In March 2022, the property owner received a notice from the assessor that their assessment had increased from a full market value of $175,926.00 to $333,093.00." The notification dealt mainly with the assessed value rather than the full market value. The "assessed value" of a property is the amount of value upon which a property owner is taxed. In this particular grievance, the Equalization Rate was at 48.5%, so the assessed value greatly differed from the full market value. The assessed value went from $95,000 in 2021 to $161,550 in 2022.

The property owner did some research before meeting with the local assessor and obtained ten comparable properties similar to the "subject property." The "subject property" refers to the property owner's property. The property owner was asking for a reduction in assessment from the full market value of $333,093.00 to $254,309.00.  After calling to try to talk to the assessor for two weeks - from May 12 to May 24 - and having received no reduction from an informal meeting with the assessor, the property owner filled out the required RP-524 forms to appear before the local Board of Assessment Review.

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