Published on October 25th, 2022
Answers to the Most Asked Questions
Aventine Properties | 3 min read
I don’t pay school taxes if I don’t have kids. If we had a penny for all the times we’ve been told this, we would have two pennies. It’s not a lot, but clearly some people have some misconceptions on how property taxes work. Every property on every block in every town pays school taxes. Why? Well, because as a society we want our future generations of adults to have a basic education with sports, arts and sciences. Because even though they may not be your kids, they could be your future neighbors, coworkers, etc. And no one wants to live in a world full of airheads.
Town assessors visit your home during a case. There’s no rule of law that says that they can enter your home, and they usually don’t bother. But sometimes when we get new assessors, they try to spice things up by making stops at the properties, and you have every right to turn them away. Even if they are insistent and intimidating and they make it seem like they have to or like it’s part of the tax grievance case, IT'S NOT! Politely decline them entry and tell them to call us if they need any information on the property. We are your representative and will deal with any government. Letting an assessor indoors can lead to a lot of repercussions especially if they see things that have not been declared, such as an extension, finished basement, central air, etc.
Property taxes increase when you try to grieve. No, that is actually illegal. There is a rule of law that states townships cannot increase assessments as a result of homeowners challenging the assessment. Assessments only change when there is a town-wide reassessment happening which means everybody’s property gets re-evaluated. Otherwise, it would only be adjusted based on improvements made to the home. If your assessment does increase after a successful tax grievance, it’s because you probably live in a reassessing district, meaning a district that reassesses homes every year, which is just…unlucky.
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You can only grieve your taxes once. No, in order to guarantee that you are paying the best and lowest tax bill possible, you should be grieving every year. This is especially true if you live in a reassessing district (which allows grievances every year). If you receive a tax reduction at the SCAR level in a non-reassessing district you would have to wait a year to grieve again. Grieving your taxes whether you do it on your own or hire a professional is always a smart move.
The town refunds you money if you are successful in your grievance. This is a bit complicated. In most counties we serve, refund checks are handed out if the reduction is granted at the SCAR level. This is important. While the majority of the reductions we see are at that level, we do occasionally see BAR level reductions which will NEVER hand out refunds. Nassau is a special county that works a year ahead of schedule meaning they work with 24/25 tax bills during the 23/24 tax year. Winning a SCAR reduction in Nassau will almost never grant you a refund, unless they take so long that it literally goes into the next tax year. Which happens .01% of the time. This is also the case in Westchester, where the tax bills are always calculated using the previous year’s assessment. Additionally, it’s good to keep in mind that some municipalities favor issuing credits towards subsequent tax bills over issuing refund checks. If you’re unsure which one of these applies to you, you can call your receiver of taxes.