Mass Appraisal System

The Mass Appraisal System (CAMA)

CAMA - Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal

The Mass Appraisal System is a computer generated program – made for assessors and only accessible to assessors and others in that field – which allows them to group similar properties together in specific locations to achieve a fair market value.

Most assessors use the Mass Appraisal System or the Real Property System.

The primary focus of a mass appraisal system for real property is on the mass appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes.  An ad valorem tax is a tax based on the assessed value of an item such as property taxes levied on real estate.

Factors such as sale price of similar properties, location, number of sales and dates of sale will determine the market value. Other factors include but are not limited to determining residential market values are age, condition, grade, style, square footage and exterior buildings.

The information is entered into the system by the local assessor from the individual property identification cards. They update the property cards when building permits are issued or they see a difference on the property from driving by or a satellite image.  If they see something out of the ordinary, they need to look into the assessment more thoroughly. They will also send out information cards to the homeowners before an update is performed. Property owners, however, seldom send them back.

Once the information is entered for each type of similar properties a group analysis can be made and a market value for each type of property can be established. However, the information on the specific adjustments to achieve the assessment may not be known. Only the final market value for the property.

Any computerized program is only as accurate as the information entered into it. If the property identification cards have not been updated for some time this may affect the outcome of the market value for that property.

To see how and what information is collected on a property record card, refer to: Data Collection - Residential, Farm Vacant Land 

There are several ways to find out if the information on your property is correct.

a. Check the County Real Property website (Image Mate) by entering your Property Tax ID number, name or address and pulling up the information on your property.

b. Make an appointment with your local assessor to see your property identification card.

c. Invite the assessor onto your property so both the property owner and the assessor can obtain the correct information.

New York State encourages (but does not force) assessors to maintain an Equalization Rate of 100% for their respective assessing unit. To understand more on equalization rates and how they work, refer to: Equalization rates - Department of Taxation and Finance

Is your assessment accurate?

It is important to bear in mind that tax bills arrive after your opportunity to request a reduction in your assessment. When your town or city publishes the tentative roll (generally March 1st) you should check the assessment, full value, and exemptions for your property. Using that information and a basic knowledge of the value of your home, you can determine if you are fairly assessed.

How to understand the Assessment Roll. Please refer to the link below.

Overview of the assessment roll

For more information on working with comparable properties, see Excessive Assessment under Resources on our website.