Tax Certiorari is the area of law dealing with protesting real estate tax assessments. Tax Certiorari attorneys help property owners maintain a competitive edge by ensuring their real estate taxes reflect the property’s appropriate market value.
In NYC, it involves filing a protest with and appearing before the NYC Tax Commission for a hearing. If a settlement is not reached, it gets taken to the next level by filing a petition with the Supreme Court.
In NYC, there is a new assessment every year which is released on January 15th; The deadline to file the protest with the NYC Tax Commission is March 1 (for most tax classes that we handle). It is still possible to challenge a buildings property taxes even after the March deadline, but not through the Tax Commission.
There is a distinct advantage in protesting via the tax commission: The tax commission cannot increase an assessment. It is therefore important for owners to act quickly so that they beat the deadline, but even if a building misses the deadline, it is still a good idea to contact a tax certiorari attorney because as mentioned above, there are alternate means to challenge the assessment.
Some owners are reluctant to protest their taxes because they feel they may have done extensive renovations or because adjacent properties are selling for much higher than what their assigned "market value" is. What is important to note is that such factors are often completely irrelevant in determining the property's assessment in New York City.
For many commercial property in the five boroughs, NYC uses the income capitalization approach. If the required RPIE's are not filed, the city assigns an estimated gross income and expense for the property and assesses it based on those numbers. Those numbers are often higher than where they should be. What's important to note is that the renovations and/or recent sales are sometimes not a factor at all.
As stated, in order to determine the value of a property, the Department of Finance uses various factors but typically relies on what is known as the "income capitalization" approach. In other words, the department looks at the rental income and expenses for a building to determine the net operating income, and applies a certain capitalization rate to that to arrive at the value. For Co-op or condo buildings, the Department of Finance is required, by statute, to evaluate co-ops and condos as if they were rental buildings. The department first estimates the rent that could be charged for each unit as if it were a rental giving the department an estimated income. Then, the department reviews the expense reports - minus depreciation and mortgage interest - and determines the building's reasonable and appropriate expenses. Income minus expenses constitutes the net operating income for assessment purposes. When the assessment is challenged, the main areas of dispute typically involve the unit's rental value and whether the building's operating expenses are reasonable. If, after filing an application, the matter is not resolved at the tax commission level, the building must begin an action in the Supreme Court against the city, which must be filed by October 24. It is important to note, that even if that date falls on a weekend, it does not get extended to the next business day, meaning the action must be started no later than the Friday before.
The Cohen Law Office, PC is a boutique law firm focused primarily on NYC Tax Certiorari dealing mainly in the five boroughs of New York City. We represent a wide variety of commercial property owners in administrative and judicial proceedings protesting real property assessments. Our clients include apartment buildings, hotels, commercial, industrial and retail properties. Our service provides clients with the depth of a tax certiorari boutique supported by our strong desire to provide aggressive and competent representation to all our clients. Our fee on all tax certiorari matters are contingent upon obtaining property tax reductions.
Aaron Cohen, Esq. of The Cohen Law Office, PC is a NYC Tax Certiorari attorney who focuses his practice almost exclusively on fighting NYC property tax assessments in and around the five boroughs of New York City.
The Cohen Law Office, PC is instrumental in obtaining significant property tax reductions for apartment buildings, commercial, industrial and retail properties throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and beyond.
The Cohen Law Office, PC handles all tax assessment protests on a contingency-fee basis, and the owner pays no attorneys' fees unless there is a reduction in the tax due. Contact The Cohen Law Office today at 212-537-6860 for a free consultation to determine if you are being overassessed.
|The content of this article is for informational purposes only. For more information on Real Estate Tax Reduction, consult with Aaron Cohen, or a Tax Attorney in your area to discuss your case.|