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At the beginning of this year, residents and business owners throughout Monroe County received notice that a countywide “Reassessment” had been conducted and were provided with a preliminary assessment on their property. Reassessment is certainly not a term that you hear every day. There’s a good reason for that. The last countywide property reassessment project in Monroe County happened back in 1989.
In less than a month, on July 1, 2019, formal notices (assessments) will be mailed to all property owners in Monroe County. This includes owners of land subject to Act 319, otherwise known as the “Clean and Green Act”. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you just want to know, “what does the new assessment mean for me and my property?”
The truth is that your local, county, and school taxes may go up, they may stay the same, or they may go down, based on the new assessment. What makes the answer so complicated is that every property is unique and real estate values have changed in the almost 30 years since the last Monroe County assessment. The impact on your tax obligation will be dependent on how the value of your property compares to the value of the other approximately 103,000 properties in Monroe County. Each property was assessed based upon what a potential buyer might pay for the property; this included a review of what similar properties sold for in the past two years.
If you disagree with the assessment at this point, once you receive the formal notice, you have the option of filing a formal appeal of that assessment. The deadline to file a formal appeal for the 2020 tax year is August 12, 2019. Once the formal appeal is filed, an appeal hearing will be scheduled at which time, evidence of the property’s value can be provided by the property owner and/or through an expert witness, who has provided a complete and written appraisal report. Notably, if you are leasing a property, you can also pursue a formal appeal if you can show you are responsible for the payment of all real estate taxes on the property.
In deciding whether to file a formal appeal, you will not have the benefit of knowing what impact the new assessment has on your tax obligations. This is because the first tax bill based on this new assessment will not be mailed until March 2020 for County and Municipality taxes and August 2020 for School District taxes. Unfortunately, neither the County, Municipality, nor School District can provide any insight prior to that time because the tax bills are generated once each of these taxing authorities set their 2020 budgets, which does not occur prior to the August 12, 2019 deadline. As such, you will need to make the decision based upon whether you believe the assessment is an accurate reflection of the value of your property.
If you have questions on whether to pursue a formal appeal, we at Gross McGinley, LLP have years of experience with dealing with various County Assessment Boards and would be happy to review your options in appealing your property reassessment, or filing an appeal for properties in other counties if you feel the value is inappropriate.
Attorney Loren Speziale is a native of Monroe County and provides counsel to individuals and businesses in real estate matters.
Attorney Jason Ulrich has extensive municipal law experience and counsels commercial and industrial property owners on real estate matters and issues.