Archive for Doug O'Connell

Homeowners Face Serious Penalty For Missing Tax Grievance Deadline!

Homeowners and tax payers in Westchester County have an opportunity to challenge their tax assessment once a year.  In Westchester County the filing period typically occurs in the first 3 weeks of June, however there are several municipalities, such as White Plains, Yonkers, and New Rochelle which have separate filing periods.  A list of all filing dates can be located through the Office of Real Property Services, ORPS or by simply calling your local assessor’s office.

Also, keep in mind that, it is typical to file separately for properties that are also subject to village taxes.  The filing period for these properties is typically during the first 3 weeks of February.  Don’t take it for granted that a reduction in your Town tax assessment is going to carry over to your Village taxes, you will almost certainly be disappointed. The bottom line is that it is best to check the filing period with your assessor just to be sure.

The penalty for missing the deadline is steep indeed, and can result in being penalized several thousand dollars.  The reality is once you miss the deadline you are out of luck and your penalty is to be overtaxed for yet another year.  No amount of complaining or excuse making will get you anywhere.  Miss the deadline and you will pay the penalty.

Unfortunately, once you miss the deadline the assessment is set and is used to determine the following year’s taxes and the homeowner does not have another opportunity to challenge for a full year.  Think about it, can you really afford to throw away potentially thousands of dollars year after year.  Stop what you are doing for a moment and think of all the possibilities of what you could do with that money, even if it is just a nice vacation for you and your family.  You owe it to yourself to determine if your assessment is fair.

More and more homeowners are becoming aware that they can review their assessments or have them reviewed and challenge and reduce them. I am dedicated to educating homeowners about their property taxes.  If there is anyway that I can be of assistance please contact me.  You may also find the blogs and video’s I have posted on my site helpful.

Can my taxes increase because of a tax grievance?

Are you one of the many homeowners who hold off on filing a tax grievance or pursuing a reduction in your property taxes because you fear it may actually result in the opposite, an increase in your taxes?

This is a common fear among homeowners, you are not alone.  Although it’s common there is absolutely no basis for it.  In fact, it may be the single most common thing that freezes people in their tracks right along with their property taxes.

Here is the truth:

As a homeowner you have a right, and I feel a responsibility to yourself and your family, to review your property tax assessment each and every year.  Yes, you have a right and you can’t be punished for exercising it!

If you ignore this right, you may continue to be over-assessed and over taxed year after year.  I have had clients who discovered they were over-taxed by as much as $16,000, now this is extreme, but $2,000 to $4,000 is nothing to sneeze at and it adds up year after year.

There are only two ways your taxes can increase

The only time your assessment will go up is first, if you improve your property. For example, if you build a deck, finish your basement, add a bathroom, and even then you will only be assessed for the improvement itself.

The second way that your assessment can go up is if your town or city conducts a re-assessment which means that they reassess the entire town or city, but they will not and cannot re-assess you because you challenged your assessment.

Furthermore, I review all of the properties I represent and would never file an assessment on a property that I do not feel merits a reduction, so if it is already high how could it possibly be raised.  Whether you file your own grievance or hire someone to do it for you, I recommend that you carefully review assessment so that you only file if you have a legitimate case.  Not because your assessment may go up, it won’t, but why would you want to waste your time or anyone else’s.  If you don’t know how to review your assessment I address this in one of my posts and in my FAQ-videos.

The bottom line is, you cannot be punished for exercising your right to challenge your assessment, so don’t put it off any longer.  If you don’t know how to do it or don’t want to be bothered I would love to personally help you, just contact me via post, e-mail, or phone.