Grieving by Excessive Assessment

Grieving by Excessive Assessment is quite similar to grieving by Unequal Assessment only the taxpayer does not have as much to prove.

When grieving by Unequal Assessment the taxpayer needs to prove the assessed value is at a higher percentage of value than the assessed value of other real property on the assessment roll or the assessed value of real property improved by a one, two or three family residence is at a higher percentage of full market value than the assessed value of other residential property on the assessment roll. Although this can be proven, assessors and Boards of Assessment Review seem to be reluctant to accept the fact the taxpayer may be correct.

When grieving by Excessive Assessment, the taxpayer only needs to prove the assessed value exceeds the full value of the property. In other words, the taxpayer needs to establish that the full market value of the property is less than the estimated full market value established by the assessor.

This is a recommended process to follow:

Step 1: Obtain your comparable properties for your town by using the link on this website - Direct link to Real Property Tax Data by County". You will not be able to find properties exactly as your own. Try to get at least ten similar properties in size, style and location. Adjustments for the differences will be made in later steps. Print the information for all the comparison property identifications.

Through research we have found an approved approach by New York State Department of Taxation & Finance and the Office of Real Property Tax Services on how to estimate the Full Market Value of your property without the need of an expensive appraisal.

Step 2: Using a blank Comparable Analysis Chart fill in all the information for your comparison properties above the "Adjustments" line.  If you need help refer to the sample chart.

Step 3: With the information entered for each comparable property you can now begin to make the adjustments for what each comparable property would sell for if all the characteristics were the same to your property. Using the Comparable Sales Analysis Adjustment Formula enter the adjusted values in the spaces provided.

Step 4: All information has now been entered on the chart. Beginning with the assessed Fair Market Value as stated by the assessor at the top of the chart for comparable property #1, add or subtract the values from the adjustments and enter the new total under the Adjusted Sale Price space. Do this for each comparable property.

Step 5: Add the totals of the Adjusted Sale Price of all the comparable properties and then divide them by the number of comparable properties. This will be your new estimated Full Market Value of your property when compared equally to others on the same assessment roll. To arrive at a higher percentage of value, refer to the last page of the Comparable Sales Analysis Adjustment Formula.

Step 6: The same process can be done for recent sale properties. On the website, you can Google - recently sold homes for "your town". Choose at least five recently sold homes in the past few years and run them through the same process. Instead of using the Full Market Value as estimated by the assessor, use the sale price. This will give you even more accuracy for your current Full Market Value.

Step 7: Fill out the RP-524 form. On page 1, #7, enter your new estimated Full Market Value achieved from the chart. On page 2, #7, check additional supporting documentation. On Page 3, B. Excessive Assessment, check #1., a. Enter the assessed value of the property according to the assessor., b. Enter your new estimated Full Market Value.

All requirements by New York State Department of Taxation & Finance and the Office of Real Property Tax Service have now been fulfilled to estimate your own Full Market Value when compared equally to other one, two or three family residential properties on the same assessment roll.

If your estimated Full Market Value is less than that of the assessor, you have proven Excessive Assessment and your assessment should be reduced to that amount.

For information on the order in which to grieve your assessment before the Board of Assessment Review, see the section below: Grieving Outline for Board of Assessment Review - Excessive Assessment.

Grieving Outline for Board of Assessment Review - Excessive Assessment   

• Although the assessor may believe a taxpayer can sell a property for what it is assessed does not always make it equitable to others on the same assessment roll.

• According to Real Property Tax Law, a taxpayer has four ways to challenge their assessment. These being (1) Unequal Assessment, (2) Excessive Assessment, (3) Unlawful Assessment and (4) Misclassification.

• I am grieving my assessment under (2) Excessive Assessment. In order to claim excessive assessment I must establish a Full Market Value of my property lower than that of the assessor.

1. Please see the Board of Assessment Review Training page 6-5 on Excessive Assessment updated February 2019.

• Real Property Tax Law states: In the case of one, two or three family residential real property, the taxpayer has the option of proving that the percentage of Full Value represented by their assessment is higher than the average percentage at which other residential properties are assessed on the same assessment roll.

1. I point your attention to the highlighted areas on page three from the RP-524 Instruction form for filing a complaint.

• New York State law now requires the assessment roll to display the assessor's estimate of the full value of the properties on the assessment roll. With the assessor presumed to always be correct, it can also be presumed the Full Market Value listed for all the properties on the assessment roll is also correct.

1. This needs to be made very clear. The best indicator of Full Market Value is recent sales. The assessor uses recent sales to adjust the assessments of properties on the assessment roll to estimate the Full Market Value. Therefore if property comparisons for Excessive Assessment are made from the 2019 Tentative Assessment Roll, it can be concluded that the Full Market Value listed for each property is from current recent sales.

• New York State Department of Finance & Taxation and the Office of Real Property Tax Services provides a pamphlet to the taxpayer showing their recommended approach to estimating the Full Market Value of a property.

1. Please note the highlighted areas. Perhaps the most important paragraph is the one telling the taxpayer that having an appraisal done by a professional is not necessary.

• Using the recommended approach provided by New York State Department of Taxation & Finance and the Office of Real Property Tax Services I have compiled ten comparison properties.

1. This is over three times the number of comparison properties suggested by NYS and ORPS to obtain an estimated Full Market Value.

2. Since none of the properties are identical, compensation for the differences are made by adjusting the sale price of each property.

3. The estimated Full Market Value for each property on the 2019 Tentative Roll by the assessor establishes the baseline sale price.

4. Only the value of the differing characteristics need to be made.

5. Once the new values are inserted for the adjustments you can establish a new Adjusted Sale Price for each property.

6. Taking the average Adjusted Sale Price of the ten comparison properties, a new estimated Full Market Value of  my property is established at $_____________ when compared to others on the same assessment roll.

7. This would prove to be a higher percentage of value of _______% when compared to others on the same assessment roll.

• A Comparable Sales Analysis Formula is used to make the adjustments for each property. This formula was developed by an individual who has over 47 years experience in the construction trade. Most older properties prior to 1962 have had some sort of major remodeling. Therefore a median year for comparison between 1962 and 2019 would be 1990. Pricing for 1990 is used to adjust for the compensation of the difference between the comparison properties. The year 1990 is the most equitable for all comparisons.

• In addition to the ten comparable properties, I also have five recent sale properties. This also is above and beyond the suggested amount by NYS and ORPS.

1. Using the same approach the new estimated Full Market Value is $____________.

2. This would prove to be a higher percentage of value of _______% when compared to others on the same assessment roll.

• All requirements by the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance and the Office of Real Property Tax Services and their laws have been met to prove Excessive Assessment between my property and other one, two or three family residential properties on the same assessment roll.

• Conclusion: The assessor and the Board of Assessment Review may not like the process used for Excessive Assessment, you may not agree with the new Full Market Value that has been proven but it has been proven according to the recommended approach by New York State Department of Taxation & Finance, the Office of Real Property Tax Services and their law. You must set your personal opinions aside and look at only the facts and the laws that apply to them. As members of a Board of Assessment Review, you take an oath to uphold the Real Property Tax Laws to the best of your abilities. It is for that reason, I do not see any choice other than to lower my assessment to the proven new Full Market Value of $________________.

Update May 20, 2019