Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Guide to Property Taxes in Upstate NY

Upstate New York has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, which means that learning about how you are taxed and the available exemptions can help you save quite a bit of money. There are a number of options available, including exemptions for non-profit organizations, disabled individuals and veterans. These exemptions can help to make this otherwise high tax amount much more affordable and manageable, which is important for most households.

You pay taxes on your Class 1 property based on a specific formula. This formula consists of four steps, which include:

• Determining the market value based on the value of like properties in the neighborhood
• Determining the assessed value
• Applying any exemptions
• Determining the property tax bill

While this is a bit simplistic, understanding how your property tax is figured is essential. There are a number of exemption options available including STAR, Enhanced STAR, Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption and Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption. Each of these exemptions offer different benefits for the residents of upstate New York and are something you should learn more about in order to know which one applies to your property. According to the NYC Government publications, the exemptions in place include:

STAR: This is the school tax relief and is offered to any owner of a house, condo or co-op that has an adjusted gross income of $500,000 or less annually.
Enhanced STAR: This exemption is available for seniors over the age of 65 with an income below $83,300 annually.
Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption: This exemption is for seniors over the age of 65 who have an income $37,400 or less.
Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption: Available for homeowners with a disability with an annual income of $37,400 or less.

According to reports from the State Comptroller’s Office, the median tax rate per $1,000 is $35.72, which is higher than the state median of $30.60. However, since the homes are assessed to a lower value than some of the other municipalities, the actual tax rate has to be higher in order to earn the same amount of money that is being received in areas, such as the Valley of Hamburg. This is why it is more important to look at your dollar’s cost effectiveness, rather than the tax rate. While the tax rate is higher in upstate New York, it is also due to a number of factors that you do not have any control over.

Getting ready for the next tax year

When it comes to paying taxes in upstate New York, you know the rates are higher, so preparing ahead of time is necessary. Understanding the deadlines and when to prepare for payment is essential:

• January: You will receive your Notice of Property value in the mail
• March: The 15th is the deadline to dispute the value of your property and apply for any personal exemptions
• May: The Finance Department will release the final assessment roll and then generate property tax bills for the following tax year that will start on the 1st of July
• June: Expect to receive the first bill for property tax in June.
• July: The new tax year begins and you will be taxed at the previous year’s rate
• November: The City Council will vote on the new rates that are then signed off on by the Mayor.

Understanding property tax assessments can be a bit challenging, but it is something that all residents in Upstate New York should to take the time to do. The exemptions that are available can help residents save on their overall tax assessment and ensure that they do not wind up paying too much.

* The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing tax and/or legal advice.