On Long Island, real estate matters are of primal concern...from the preservation of land to the rights of ownership. But in light of the fiscal crisis that has debilitated Nassau County, and the property tax reassessment procedure being imposed upon commercial and residential properties as a recovery solution, a dilemma is sharply in focus for government and its citizens: How to achieve fair and equitable property assessment?
As partner-in-charge of the tax certiorari department at the law firm Forchelli, Curto, Schwartz, Mineo, Carlino & Cohn, I frequently counsel clients seeking relief from what they deem an unfair assessment.
I offer commercial and residential property owners the following advice as a starting-off point in considering a petition:
R EVIEW. Collect all your data on the property you would like reconsidered, including its tax map designation.
E DUCATE. Enlighten yourself on the probable fair market value of your property.
D EFINE. Recognize the type of attorney - a tax certiorari attorney - who needs to be consulted.
U NDERSTAND. With your research complete, you are now ready to select professional assistance.
C OUNSEL. It is best to seek legal counsel to determine the weight of your case, and to square off with the County on the petition to reduce your taxes. Tax certiorari attorneys have access to real estate records for comparison purposes, and employ computer software to swiftly execute your petition. The work is performed on a contingent basis from the expected tax refund - an incentive to advance your case quickly through the review process.
E NDGAME. The resolution of the tax certiorari proceeding will not only result in a refund, but will also accomplish a reduction in future taxes.
One day perhaps, the property assessment system will more fully accomplish what it seeks to achieve: equity among property owners and tax rolls that sustain our community schools, parks, programs and services.