Background on Assessments Part 2

More interesting and educational reading from The Office of Real Property Services(bold, italicized are my highlights):

Won’t my taxes increase if my assessment is adjusted?

First, as noted above, your assessor does not increase your taxesAssessors are trained to be appraisal professionals; it is their job to make sure that the assessments are accurate and equitable, which provides the basis for fair distribution of taxes among the property owners within the assessing unit. Keeping assessments up-to-date each year is necessary for fair tax distribution.

Next, keeping values up-to-date each year does not necessarily mean that your assessment will increase.  Market values of properties may stay the same or go down, which means that some properties should see a decrease in assessed values.

If your assessment does increase, it doesn’t mean that your taxes will automatically increase.  In some cases, a municipality will go from a fractional level of assessment to 100 percent.  If the original level of assessment was 10 percent, and the current level of assessment is 100 percent, your assessed value could go from $9,000 to $90,000, and you might not see any increase in taxes.

In addition, if your assessment increases, but the assessments of most other properties increase more, your share of the taxes could decrease.  For instance, if your assessment increased by 3 percent, but most other property owners saw increases of 5 percent, you’ll likely see a decrease in taxes (assuming your school and municipal budgets remain stable and the tax levy does not increase).

What are the benefits to keeping assessments up-to-date each year?

More than 250 municipalities across New York are now enjoying the benefits of consistent market value assessments.  Aside from State Aid now totaling more than $4.8 million each year, the benefits include:

  • Assessment Equity for TaxpayersThe longer it has been since a municipality has updated assessments, the more likely it is that some taxpayers are paying more than their fair share in taxes.  Up-to-date assessments eliminate unfair assessments and the “sticker shock” that taxpayers experience when assessments are adjusted after years of neglect.
  • Local Control over the Equalization Rate – By maintaining assessments at market value each year, municipalities can consistently receive an equalization rate of 100.  This eliminates shifts in school and county tax apportionment due to fluctuating equalization rates.
  • Improved Bond Ratings In addition to State Aid, many municipalities are receiving improved bond ratings as a result of their efforts to keep assessments current.  These municipalities are saving tens of thousand of dollars each year (and, in some cases, much more than that).
  • Fewer Court Challenges to Assessments – By keeping assessments up-to-date, municipalities are likely to have fewer tax certiorari cases.
  • Increased State Land Assessments – Because State land assessments are frozen at the year of the last municipal-wide reassessment, annual assessments allow municipalities to make changes in market value that they could not otherwise capture.

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