New York City

Challenging your property taxes pays off. Here’s how to do it.

June 24, 2019 Mary Frost
Seen here: Rowhouses on 47th Street in Sunset Park. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

More Brooklyn property owners are appealing their property tax assessments and winning reductions — and you can, too.

According to a report from the Independent Budget Office, Brooklyn taxpayers saved $57.5 million after appealing their property tax assessments with the Tax Commission in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available. That’s almost double the amount awarded in 2013, when $31.1 million was cut from Brooklyn property owners’ bills.

The same trend held across the city. The Tax Commission gave more than double the number of reductions in 2017 (45,237) than it granted in 2013 (22,871).

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Homeowners have little to lose by disputing their tax bills, IBO said in their report on property tax reductions released Wednesday. The Tax Commission can’t raise a property’s assessments, and filing a challenge is free if the property’s assessed value is under $2 million. (If it’s worth over $2 million, the fee is $175.)

If the owner believes the reduction is too small, they can move the challenge to the New York State Supreme Court.

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Most of the increase in assessment challenges have come from multifamily residential buildings (Tax Class 2), IBO said. These are rental buildings, condominiums and cooperatives.


Bucking the trend, the number of appeals from Tax Class 1 property owners — owners of 1-3 family homes — across the city has actually gone down since 2013, when 4,885 property tax appeals were filed and 530 were granted. In 2017, 3,508 appeals were filed, and only 163 reductions were granted.

According to IBO, fewer owners of Tax Class 1 properties challenge their tax bills because they have to show that their assessments exceed 6 percent of the market value of comparable homes.

Across the city, property owners saved $602.6 million after appealing assessments in 2017. The savings in Manhattan, $466.6 million, were the highest because of the greater number of commercial and high-value properties. Commercial properties garnered 68 percent of the reductions in 2017.

Everyone is in the tax reduction game. In 2016, Donald Trump’s attorneys persuaded the city to cut the assessed value of his personal Trump Tower penthouse by $28,000, to $1.8 million, reducing his property tax bill by $3,000, according to Crain’s.

Even with the increase in reductions, the city is not likely to go broke. Property taxes account for close to half (46 percent) of all city revenues — nearly $28 billion this year, according to IBO.

To learn how to challenge your property tax assessment, visit https://www1.nyc.gov.


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