Tax certiorari is the term for legal proceedings by which a real property’s tax assessment is reviewed by an administrative agency such as the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission (“ARC”) and ultimately by the courts. The goal of a tax certiorari proceeding is to determine a property’s market value which is the basis for the assessments. The indicated assessment is the result of applying the prevailing local ratio of assessment to the property’s market value determined in the proceeding.
Challenging the annual assessment on one’s property can result in substantial savings through lowered real estate taxes if the challenge is successful. As a result, it is important to consider contesting your property’s tax assessment as a part of your facility’s annual financial plan.
The certiorari attorneys at Certilman Balin offer years of experience in successfully challenging property tax assessments. To date, over $1B in real estate tax refunds have been obtained for the firm’s industrial, commercial, and residential clients. Continue reading to learn more about the tax certiorari process in New York and how the Certilman Balin tax certiorari attorneys can help reduce your operating expenses and increase your profits.
Understanding the Tax Certiorari Grievance Process
The tax certiorari process can sometimes be lengthy and complicated. However, when a challenge is successful, a substantial savings in real estate taxes can be realized. The process typically involves a review procedure consisting of the grievance application through the local Assessment Review Commission and finally a judicial review of the property’s tax assessment.
Who can file a tax certiorari grievance? Any party aggrieved by an assessment has the right to challenge that assessment, which means that both tenants and property owners may commence tax certiorari proceedings. Importantly only the current tentative assessment roll each year may be challenged administratively. Thereafter, a judicial proceeding under Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law must be commenced challenging the assessment in the final roll.
When a grievance application is filed an aggrieved party is requesting a review of the property’s assessed value, which, if successful will result in a reduction in assessment. The property’s real estate taxes will be lowered thereby. To succeed in this challenge, it is important to understand the different grounds for contesting the assessment to prove that the property is erroneously assessed.
How to Prove Your Property Assessment Is Inaccurate?
While there are a number of documents that can be produced, including income and expense statements, and rent rolls to support a claim, one of the most effective methods is to obtain a recent property appraisal. This appraisal should include at a minimum:
- A statement explaining the methodology used to arrive at the market value of the property and resultant assessment;
- A concise and clear statement explaining the comparison between the property in question and comparable properties utilized, adjusted to the subject property, to determine the property’s market value; and
- Photographs of the subject property and the comparable properties.
- One or more of the three recognized approaches to value, the Income, Sales Comparison and Cost approaches to value.
What Are the Grounds to Challenge a Tax Assessment?
A party aggrieved by an assessment in New York may contest a tax assessment, on the following four grounds:
- Misclassified assessment. This can occur when the property is improperly classified for its actual use. For example, retail property is classified as multi-family residential.
- Excessive assessment. In assessment districts that assess at full value, a property may be assessed in excess of its fair market value.
- Unlawful assessment. If the property is either located outside of the boundaries of an assessment unit or is, for example, exempt from taxes because of a charitable exemption, the assessment may be unlawful.
- Unequal assessment. Inequality exists when property is assessed at a higher percentage of its fair market value compared with all other property in an assessment unit. This is the most common ground for challenging an assessment.
How Can a New York Tax Certiorari Lawyer Help?
An aggrieved party, with an interest in real property in New York as stated above, has a right to contest the assessed value of its property. In Nassau County, for example, from January 2 up to April 1st, an application for correction of the assessed value may be filed with the Nassau County ARC and the Nassau County Department of Assessment.
Once an ARC hearing has been scheduled, if an aggrieved party retains the Certilman Balin law firm, its attorneys will present evidence and advocate for a reduction in assessment. ARC will make a property assessment determination following the hearing. In most income producing commercial cases where appropriate, ARC will utilize the Capitalization of Income method, and apply the appropriate equalization rates to the market value so determined.
The Certilman Balin attorneys offer many years of experience and in depth knowledge of the methods used by ARC to reach its determined assessment values. They are able, in a proper case, to make compelling arguments as to why the assessed values are erroneous.
Certilman Balin tax certiorari lawyers can assist with all of the procedures involved in challenging and reducing property taxes, including:
- Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) Article 7 proceedings (Judicial proceedings in Supreme Court)
- Securing proper tax exemptions
- ARC representation and complaints filings
- Petitions for Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR)
- CPLR Article 78 proceedings and corrections of tax roll errors, when appropriate
- And more
Contact the Real Property Tax Certiorari Attorneys of Certilman Balin
At Certilman Balin, the real property tax certiorari attorneys focus on administrative and judicial real estate tax review proceedings involving real property tax assessments throughout the State. To date, Certilman Balin attorneys have successfully obtained more than a Billion Dollars in real estate tax refunds for the Firm’s industrial, commercial, and residential clients.
Contact the tax certiorari attorneys at Certilman Balin for further information.