Instructions for Form RP-524 "Complaints on Real Property Assessments" - New York

This document contains official instructions for Form RP-524, Complaints on Real Property Assessments - a form released and collected by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. An up-to-date fillable Form RP-524 is available for download through this link.

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Download Instructions for Form RP-524 "Complaints on Real Property Assessments" - New York

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RP-524-Ins (3/09)
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION & FINANCE
OFFICE OF REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES
GENERAL INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILING
COMPLAINTS ON REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS
Who may complain? Any person aggrieved by an assessment (e.g., an owner, purchaser or tenant who is required to pay the
taxes pursuant to a lease or written agreement) may file a complaint (RP-524).* You may complete the complaint yourself or
your representative or attorney may complete it for you.
What assessment may be reviewed? The only assessment that may be reviewed is the assessment on the current tentative
assessment roll completed by the local assessor. As a general rule, a separate complaint should be filed for each separately
assessed parcel.
Where must the complaint be filed? The complaint must be filed in the city or town in which the property is located, with
either the assessor or the board of assessment review. You may deliver the complaint either to the assessor or to the board of
assessment review. You may also mail your complaint for review, but it must be received by the assessor or the board of
assessment review no later than the day the board of assessment review meets to hear complaints.
If the property is located in a village which assesses property, there will be two assessments, one by the village and
one by the town. If the complainant wishes to have both the town and the village assessments reviewed, the complainant
must file separate complaints with the town assessor (or board of assessment review) and the village assessor (or board of
review or board of assessment review). To determine whether the village produces its own assessment roll, consult the
village clerk.
When must the complaint be filed? You may file the complaint with the assessor on or before the first day the board of
assessment review meets to hear complaints or with the board of assessment review on such day. If you file your complaint
fewer than four business days before the board of assessment review meets, the board is required to grant the assessor’s
request for an adjournment to allow the assessor to prepare a response to the complaint. The failure to file your complaint on
time closes off your right for administrative and judicial review of this year’s assessment.
When is the meeting of the Board of Assessment Review? In most towns, the board of assessment review meets on the
fourth Tuesday of May, except as follows:
In Suffolk County, town boards of assessment review meet on the third Tuesday of May;
In Westchester County, town boards of assessment review meet on the third Tuesday in June;
In Nassau County, the Assessment Review Commission meets throughout the year, but complaints must be filed by
March 1.*
In cities, the date for the meeting of the board of assessment review must be ascertained from specific charter provisions and
the assessor’s or the city clerk’s office should be contacted; and
In most villages which assess real property, the board of review or board of assessment review meets on the third Tuesday of
February; however, village assessment calendars may vary, and the village clerk should be consulted.
In cities and towns which employ an assessor who is at the same time employed by another assessing unit, the local
governing body may adopt a local law establishing a different date for the meeting of the board of assessment review. That
date may be no earlier than the fourth Tuesday in May and no later than the second Tuesday in June. You should check with
your city or town clerk to determine if such a local law is in effect in your city or town.
Complaint procedure
1. Your written complaint should include statements, records, and other relevant information to support your complaint.
2. You should be very careful when determining how much of an assessment reduction to request because you may be
precluded from obtaining a greater reduction than the amount you request, even if circumstances should show that a larger
reduction is warranted.
3. You have the right to attend the hearing of the board of assessment review and to present statements in support of your
complaint. You may appear personally, with or without your attorney or other representative.
__________________________
* Nassau County has its own complaint form and procedures; contact the Nassau County Department of Assessment or
Assessment Review Commission for forms or more information.
RP-524-Ins (3/09)
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION & FINANCE
OFFICE OF REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES
GENERAL INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILING
COMPLAINTS ON REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS
Who may complain? Any person aggrieved by an assessment (e.g., an owner, purchaser or tenant who is required to pay the
taxes pursuant to a lease or written agreement) may file a complaint (RP-524).* You may complete the complaint yourself or
your representative or attorney may complete it for you.
What assessment may be reviewed? The only assessment that may be reviewed is the assessment on the current tentative
assessment roll completed by the local assessor. As a general rule, a separate complaint should be filed for each separately
assessed parcel.
Where must the complaint be filed? The complaint must be filed in the city or town in which the property is located, with
either the assessor or the board of assessment review. You may deliver the complaint either to the assessor or to the board of
assessment review. You may also mail your complaint for review, but it must be received by the assessor or the board of
assessment review no later than the day the board of assessment review meets to hear complaints.
If the property is located in a village which assesses property, there will be two assessments, one by the village and
one by the town. If the complainant wishes to have both the town and the village assessments reviewed, the complainant
must file separate complaints with the town assessor (or board of assessment review) and the village assessor (or board of
review or board of assessment review). To determine whether the village produces its own assessment roll, consult the
village clerk.
When must the complaint be filed? You may file the complaint with the assessor on or before the first day the board of
assessment review meets to hear complaints or with the board of assessment review on such day. If you file your complaint
fewer than four business days before the board of assessment review meets, the board is required to grant the assessor’s
request for an adjournment to allow the assessor to prepare a response to the complaint. The failure to file your complaint on
time closes off your right for administrative and judicial review of this year’s assessment.
When is the meeting of the Board of Assessment Review? In most towns, the board of assessment review meets on the
fourth Tuesday of May, except as follows:
In Suffolk County, town boards of assessment review meet on the third Tuesday of May;
In Westchester County, town boards of assessment review meet on the third Tuesday in June;
In Nassau County, the Assessment Review Commission meets throughout the year, but complaints must be filed by
March 1.*
In cities, the date for the meeting of the board of assessment review must be ascertained from specific charter provisions and
the assessor’s or the city clerk’s office should be contacted; and
In most villages which assess real property, the board of review or board of assessment review meets on the third Tuesday of
February; however, village assessment calendars may vary, and the village clerk should be consulted.
In cities and towns which employ an assessor who is at the same time employed by another assessing unit, the local
governing body may adopt a local law establishing a different date for the meeting of the board of assessment review. That
date may be no earlier than the fourth Tuesday in May and no later than the second Tuesday in June. You should check with
your city or town clerk to determine if such a local law is in effect in your city or town.
Complaint procedure
1. Your written complaint should include statements, records, and other relevant information to support your complaint.
2. You should be very careful when determining how much of an assessment reduction to request because you may be
precluded from obtaining a greater reduction than the amount you request, even if circumstances should show that a larger
reduction is warranted.
3. You have the right to attend the hearing of the board of assessment review and to present statements in support of your
complaint. You may appear personally, with or without your attorney or other representative.
__________________________
* Nassau County has its own complaint form and procedures; contact the Nassau County Department of Assessment or
Assessment Review Commission for forms or more information.
RP-524-Ins (3/09)
2
4. You have the right to be represented by your attorney or other representative. To do so, you must authorize such person to
appear on your behalf (see Part four of RP-524). This authorization must be in writing and bear a date within the same
calendar year during which the complaint is filed.
5. If the board of assessment review is not satisfied with the evidence you provide, the board may require you or your
representative to appear personally or to submit additional evidence. If you willfully refuse or neglect to answer any material
question put to you, you may be precluded from seeking judicial review of your final assessment.
6. You (or your representative) and the assessor (or member of the board of assessors designated by a majority of the board
of assessors) may stipulate to a reduced assessment of the value of your property. To do so, Part Six of the form must be
completed and signed. Be sure to receive a copy of the signed stipulation for your records. If you enter into a stipulation,
you may not ask the board of assessment review for a further reduction in your assessment, and if the agreed upon assessment
appears on the final assessment roll, you will not be allowed to seek a lower assessment through judicial review.
7. The board of assessment review must mail to each complainant a notice of the board’s determination except where the
board ratifies a stipulated assessment. Such notice must contain a statement of the reasons for the board’s determination.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE COMPLAINT (FORM RP-524)
Complaint form. Complaints in relation to assessments on city, town and village assessment rolls must be made on Form
*
RP-524
. All relevant parts of the complaint form must be completed. Failure to do so could result in dismissal of the
complaint and preclude subsequent judicial review.
Part One. General information. Enter the required identifying information, including your estimate of market value of
your property as of valuation date.
Part Two. Value of property. You are required to submit proof necessary to determine the value of your property.
Value
is based upon the condition of your property on taxable status date as of the applicable valuation date. In most cities and
towns, taxable status date is March 1 and valuation date is the preceding July 1, but check with your assessor for variations.
The rationale for separating valuation date from taxable status date is to permit the assessor sufficient time to review sales
data which is used to value most parcels. Generally, “value” means market value, i.e., the price your property would sell for
in the open market (assuming no unusual circumstances). Market value can be estimated from a recent sale of your property
or from an analysis of recent sales of comparable properties.
When your property is of a type which is not frequently bought and sold, the value of the property may be estimated
using other techniques. If the property is income producing (e.g., rental property), value may be estimated by using an
income capitalization methodology. If your property is “specialty property” (i.e., property designed for unique purposes or
uniquely adapted to the use made of it, which cannot be converted to other uses without expenditure of substantial sums of
money), value may be estimated by using the cost method.
To establish the value of your property, the following information may be useful:
1. Purchase price of the property, if recent;
2. Offering price of your property, if recently offered for sale;
3. Professional appraisal of your property;
4. Cost of construction, if recently built;
5. Rental information, if property is rented;
6. Income and expense information, if property is commercial or industrial; or
7. Purchase price of comparable property recently sold.
Part Three. Grounds for complaint. There is a presumption under the law that the assessment made by the assessor is
correct. The burden of proof is with you, the complainant, to overcome this presumption. To obtain a correction of your
assessment, you must show that the original assessment is unequal, excessive or unlawful or that your property has been
misclassified.
A. Unequal Assessment
1.
Generally, if assessments in your city, town or village are not made at full value, State law requires that they be
made at a uniform percentage of value. If you believe that your property is assessed at a higher percentage of value than
*
In Nassau County, complaints in relation to assessments on the county assessment roll and on city and village assessment
rolls prepared by the county should be made on the form prescribed by the County. Complaints in relation to assessment
rolls prepared by a city or village must be made on Form RP-524.
RP-524-Ins (3/09)
3
the average of all other properties on the same assessment roll, you may claim an unequal assessment. For example, if
you prove the value of your property is $200,000, an assessment of $150,000 would show that your property is assessed
at 75% of market value. If you prove that all other property on the average is assessed at 50%, you may claim a reduction
of your assessment to $100,000.
2.
If you own a one, two or three family residence and if you believe that it is assessed at either a higher proportion of
full (market) value than other residential property on the assessment roll or at a higher proportion of full (market) value
than the assessed valuation of all real property on the assessment roll, you may claim an unequal assessment. For
example, if you prove the value of your property is $200,000, an assessment of $100,000 would show that is assessed at
50% of market value. If you prove that all other residential property is assessed on the average at 25%, you may claim a
reduction of your assessment to $50,000.
3. To demonstrate that your property is unequally assessed, you must first establish the full value of the property as
indicated above. Note that the State law now requires that the assessment roll display the assessor’s estimate of the full
value of your property. Then you must establish the average percentage of value at which all other properties are
assessed on the same assessment roll. To establish the average percentage of value at which all property is assessed on
the assessment roll, the following information may be useful:
a. The uniform percentage of value appearing on the assessment roll;
b. The latest State equalization rate or residential assessment ratio for your assessing unit (city, town or village),
which is available from your assessor, County Director of Real Property Tax Services, or the Office of Real
Property Tax Services;
c. Market values and assessments of a sample of other properties on the same assessment roll;
d. Purchase price and assessment of other properties recently sold; and
e. Statements of the assessor or other local official.
Once you have established the value of your property and the average percentage of value at which all other properties are
assessed, you must apply the percentage to the value of your property and then compare the result to your assessment. If the
result is lower than your assessment, you may request that your assessment be reduced to that lower amount.
In the case of one, two or three family residential real property, you also have the option of proving that the percentage of full
value represented by your assessment is higher than the average percentage at which other residential properties are assessed
on the same assessment roll. To establish the average percentage at which residential property is assessed on the assessment
roll, the latest residential assessment ratio established for your assessing unit is useful. (The residential assessment ratio is
available from your Assessor, County Clerk or County Director of Real Property Tax Services, or the Office of Real Property
Tax Services.) Once you have established the average percentage at which other residential properties are assessed, you must
apply this percentage to the value of your property. If the result is lower than your assessment, you may request that your
assessment be reduced to that lower amount.
B. Excessive Assessment
1. Overvaluation. If you believe the assessed valuation of your property is greater than the full market value of the
property, you may claim an excessive assessment. To establish the full market value of your property, you should
supply the kind of information set forth above.
2. Incorrect Partial Exemption. If your property was denied all or a portion of a partial exemption (e.g., senior citizens,
veterans, school tax relief [STAR]), you may also claim an excessive assessment. If you filed an application for the
partial exemption with the Assessor, submit a copy of the application with your complaint. If you do not have a copy,
you should request the Assessor to submit it to the Board of Assessment Review.
3. Excessive Transition Assessment. Cities, towns and villages certified by the Office of Real Property Tax Services as
approved assessing units may adopt a system of transition assessments to phase in over five years all increases and
decreases in assessed valuations resulting from a revaluation. If your city, town or village has adopted transition
assessments and you believe that the transition assessment for your property has been improperly calculated, you may
claim an excessive assessment.
C. Unlawful Assessment
1. Property wholly exempt. Certain real property of certain organizations and agencies is wholly exempt from real
property taxation (for example, churches, colleges, etc.) If your claim is that the assessment is unlawful because the
property should be wholly exempt, you should supply the Board of Assessment Review with information upon which it
may make a judgment, including a completed exemption application form if required. (NOTE: If your claim relates to a
partial exemption such as a veterans or senior citizen exemption, the assessment is not unlawful, but a failure to grant all
or a portion of a partial exemption may constitute an excessive assessment; see item B.2.)
RP-524-Ins (3/09)
4
2. Property is entirely outside the boundaries of the city, town, village, school district or special district in which it is
designated as being located. If your property is located totally outside the boundaries of the city, town, village, school
district or special district indicated on the assessment roll, the assessment on this property is unlawful. You must
produce facts showing that no part of the property in question was located within the jurisdiction on taxable status date.
3. Assessment made by person or body without authority. If your property was assessed by someone other than the
Assessor or if your assessment was entered or changed after the tentative assessment roll was filed, your assessment is
unlawful.
4. Property cannot be identified from description. If your property cannot be located from the description on the
assessment roll, your assessment is unlawful.
5. If your property is special franchise property and the assessment exceeds the final assessment thereof as determined
by the Office of Real Property Tax Services, your assessment is unlawful.
D. Misclassification (Relevant only in approved assessing units which establish homestead and non-homestead tax
*
rates.)
Cities, towns and villages certified by the Office of Real Property Tax Services as approved assessing units may
elect to establish separate tax rates for homestead and non-homestead real property.
The homestead class includes:
One, two, or three family residential parcels
Residential condominiums
Mixed use parcels (i.e., used in part for residential purposes and in part for non-residential purposes), if the
primary use is residential
Mobile homes and trailers, only if they are owner-occupied and separately assessed
All vacant land parcels, not exceeding ten acres, which are located in an assessing unit which has a zoning law
or ordinance in effect, provided that such parcels are located in a zone that does not allow a residential use other
than for one, two or three family dwelling residential real property
Farm dwellings
All land used in agricultural production which is eligible for an agricultural assessment pursuant to section 305
or 306 of the Agriculture and Market Law, if the owner has filed an annual application for an agricultural
assessment
All farm buildings and structures as defined in Real Property Tax Law, section 483(3), located on such land
used in agricultural production.
The non-homestead class includes all other real property (e.g., commercial, industrial, special franchise and utility
property, and some vacant land.)
These are two possible claims of misclassification.
1. The parcel has been designated in the wrong class on the assessment roll.
2. The allocation of your parcel’s total assessed value-between the homestead and non-homestead parts is incorrect.
For example, your 100 acre parcel is assessed for $500,000. The Assessor allocates $200,000 of that amount to your
residence and surrounding 10 acres, the other $300,000 being allocated to the remaining 90 acres. You believe that the
$500,000 total assessment is correct but contend that the residence and 10 acres are worth one-half of the total, or $250,000.
(The question of allocation will be significant because of the different tax rates for the homestead and non-homestead
classes.) In this case, you may claim that your property is misclassified and request that the assessed value be allocated
equally between your residence and surrounding 10 acres and the remaining 90 acres.
If you contest only the allocation without seeking review of the total assessed value, only the “Misclassification”
claim need be raised. However, if you believe that your assessment is unequal or excessive and the allocation between the
homestead and non-homestead parts is incorrect, then you should check both misclassification and unequal or excessive
assessment. Using the same example as above, if you claim that the total assessed value should be reduced from $500,000 to
$350,000, you must show an allocation of the $350,000 between the homestead and non-homestead shares.
E. Penalty for false statements
A person making willful false statements on a complaint form may be charged with a crime punishable by law.
*
Nassau County is subject to a different classification system.
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