Real Property Tax FAQs
Real Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
 Assessment Administration

WHAT IS THE PREMISE OF THE PROPERTY TAX?
The premise is that property owners will pay taxes based on the value of their property. 

WHAT IS THE ASSESSMENT FUNCTION?
The principal assessment function is the determination of property values for use in the collection of the property taxes. 


WHAT IS THE JOB OF THE ASSESSOR?
Details can be found on this pamphlet.


WHAT IS A REASSESSMENT (SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS REVALUATION OR UPDATE)?
Reassessment means a systematic review of the assessments of all locally assessed properties, valued as of the valuation date of the assessment roll containing those assessments, to attain compliance with the standard of assessment set forth in subdivision two of section 305 of the Real Property Tax Law. 

WHAT IS AN APPRAISAL?
An appraisal is an estimate of value, typically for an individual property, as of a specific date. 

WHAT IS A MASS APPRAISAL?
A mass appraisal is valuation of a universe of properties, e.g., a municipality, as of a specific date. 


WHAT IS AN ASSESSED VALUE (ASSESSMENT)?
An assessed value is the market value or a percentage of market value determined by the assessor as of a specific date minus any applicable exemptions.

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE ASSESSOR HAS THE RIGHT INFORMATION ON MY PROPERTY OR MY NEIGHBORS?
All property owners are encouraged to review their property record when their assessment changes at a minimum.

WHAT DO I DO IF I DISAGREE WITH MY ASSESSMENT?
Contact your local assessor first. You may also read the publication "What to do if you disagree with your assessment"

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ENTITLED TO AN EXEMPTION?
You may go to the Exemption Administration part of the Assessor's Manual to find out if there is an exemption you may be eligible for.  In many cases some taxing districts offer exemptions that other taxing districts may not.  So if you find something you could be eligible for contact your local Assessor’s office.

WHAT IS A CORRECTION OF ERROR?
A correction of error in New York State is a legally defined assessment or property tax error that can be corrected within a specified period of time.  Additional information can be found on the Correction of Error Presentation developed by NYS ORPTS.

 The Property Tax - Tax Collection & Enforcement


WHAT IS THE PREMISE OF THE PROPERTY TAX?
The premise is that property owners will pay taxes based on the value of their property. 


WHAT IS A PROPERTY TAX?

A property tax is an “Ad Valorem” Tax.  This means it is a tax based on value.

WHAT IS A TAX RATE?
The amount per dollars of assessed value to be paid in taxes. 

WHAT IS A MILL RATE?
A mill rate is another term used for tax rate when the tax rate is expressed in tax dollars per every thousand dollars of assessed value. 

WHO DETERMINES THE TAX RATE?
The local legislative body of each taxing district determines the tax rate with input from the public and other officials. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASSESSMENTS AND TAXES?
A publication developed by NYS ORPTS best demonstrates this.

HOW DO I CALCULATE MY REAL ESTATE TAXES?
Typically the assessed value is divided by one thousand (1,000) and multiplied by the tax rate per thousand. 

HOW DOES THE PROPERTY TAX WORK?
publication developed by NYS ORPTS best demonstrates this.

WHAT IS A TAXING DISTRICT?
A taxing district is an entity that can levy a property tax, e.g. County, City, Town, Village, School District, and Special District.  

WHAT IS A LEVY (PROPERTY TAX LEVY)?
A tax levy is the amount of revenue that a taxing district decides is needed to be raised through the property tax. 

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF A TAXING DISTRICT CONDUCTING A REASSESSMENT PASSED A TAX LEVY WITH A ZERO INCREASE?
All property is in a taxing district does not necessarily change in value between the date of value for the last reassessment and the date of value for the current reassessment.  As an individual property value changes, its relationship to the total property value in a taxing district changes. 

For example, a hypothetical taxing district consists of two (2) properties.  As of the last reassessment property #1 is valued at $100,000 and property #2 is valued at $150,000.  These values remain the same until the current reassessment.  As part of the current reassessment property #1 increases in value to $200,000 and property #2 increases to $200,000.  If the total tax levy, the amount of money to be raised through the property tax, was $7,500 last year and there was no increase this year, the tax liability for property #1 would increase and the tax liability for property #2 would decrease.  See the following table.  

  

 

 

LAST REASSESSMENT  

CURRENT REASSESSMENT

Property

Property #1

Property #2

Property #1

Property #2

Assessed Value

$100,000

$150,000

$200,000

$200,000

Tax District Levy

$7,500

$7,500

$7,500

$7,500

Tax Rate

$30/thousand

$30/thousand

$18.75/thousand

$18.75/thousand

Tax Liability

$3,000

$4,500

$3,750

$3,750

As you can see, although the tax levy has not changed, property #1 had a greater change in value than property #2.  As a result their tax burdens increased and decreased proportionally.

HOW CAN I APPEAL TAXES?
You can not formally appeal property taxes.  However, you can provide input to your locally elected officials for each taxing district.  

WHAT ARE MYTHS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT THE PROPERTY TAX?
publication developed by NYS ORPTS best demonstrates this.

 Property Tax Relief

WHAT IS A CIRCUIT BREAKER PROGRAM?
A circuit breaker program generally reduces property taxes that rise above a given level of income for eligible taxpayers by providing a state income tax credit.  
 

WHAT ARE CLASSIFIED TAX RATES?
Classified tax rates are when different tax rates apply to different types of property, e.g.  Homestead and Non-Homestead property.  
 

WHAT IS A TAX DEFERRAL?

A property tax deferral generally allows qualified taxpayers to delay specified property tax payments and remain in their homes until transfer or death.  Currently there is no general law allowing local governments in New York State to establish a property tax deferral program.

WHAT IS AN EXEMPTION?
A full, total, or partial exemption is the reduction in the assessed value for individuals or parcels (property) that meets the exemption criteria.

 Property Tax Policy & Related Reports
Disclaimer: The statements made or opinions expressed by authors of these documents do not necessarily represent a policy position of the New York State Association of County Directors of Real Property Tax Services.


WHY HAVE A PROPERTY TAX?
The property tax is an important part of any well-balanced revenue system for a community. Property taxes fund such things as schools, fire and police protection, streets, libraries and other public benefits. The property tax allows these services to be funded in proportion to the amount of money individual properties are worth. The property tax is also a more stable source of money compared to sales and income taxes because it does not fluctuate when communities have recessions or for other reasons an individual's income might fluctuate. In general, when a community spends more tax dollars on better schools, parks, streets and other public benefits and services, the property values rise and community members will ultimately benefit.   Source: IAAO

A Brief History of Property Tax 

Property Tax Assessment Limits

 Videos of Interest
Disclaimer: The statements made or opinions expressed by authors of these videos do not necessarily represent a policy position of the New York State Association of County Directors of Real Property Tax Services.

Videos put out by New York State
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