In early December 2020, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced an assessment freeze for the 2022/2023 tax year. This freeze affects all residential and commercial properties in Nassau County, except newly constructed housing and new land lots.
This step, which is a reversal from prior statements calling for property reassessments to be performed each and every year, was taken to partially insulate Nassau County homeowners from a spike in local property values caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a massive exodus of New York City residents to suburban areas around the city, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Such a spike in values could cause a disproportionate increase in some assessments, and thereby the taxes, for those properties.
The Potentials for a COVID-Distorted Real Estate Market
The COVID-induced migration from New York City could result in distorting and inflating Nassau County’s real estate market. Statistics published by Onekey MLS, a real estate listing service, quantify the degree to which property values have inflated as a result. In November of 2019, the median pending sale price for a residential, condominium or co-op property was $525,000; a year later it was $600,000 – a 14.3 percent increase. Across Nassau County, residential property values increased by 11.9 percent in the same time period. These increases are far higher than what is seen in an ordinary year (and 2020 has been far from an ordinary year!).
What remains to be seen is whether this inflation of values is just a temporary COVID-induced blip or a long-term trend. Since it could turn out to be unfair to reassess properties at these newly inflated levels, the freeze is an attempt to prevent inaccurate increases.
Taxes Are Still Rising
However, the announced assessment freeze does nothing to address the immediate concerns of homeowners whose assessments – even if they were set in pre-COVID times – may not be fully accurate.
Nor does the freeze in any way address the big issue underlying taxpayer anxiety: ever-rising School and General Taxes. According to media reports, more than 60 percent of Nassau County homeowners will pay more in School Taxes in 2020 than they did in 2019. The mere fact that the County is not increasing the assessment doesn’t mean that these taxes won’t increase, especially as schools are forced to bear increased costs due to COVID safety measures. Additionally, Nassau County currently finds itself with a $749 million budget deficit thanks to COVID-related tax revenue decreases; barring significantly increased aid packages from Albany and/or Washington, it is very difficult to imagine that these budget gaps will be closed without adding to the property tax burden.
Your Assessment’s Potential Decrease Is NOT Frozen
This is not a time to be distracted from the immediate issue facing each and every homeowner in Nassau County: the issue of whether his/her individual assessment is accurate, particularly at a time when many homeowners are already under increased financial stress due to COVID-related job losses and reduced economic activity. Inaccurate assessments – frozen or not – lead directly to inaccurate, inflated property tax bills. Only by carefully examining the specific granular property data that is gathered by the County pursuant to compiling an assessment – and then comparing this data to the actual condition and specification of your property — can a determination be made as to whether your assessment is too high.
Maidenbaum Can Help
The good news is that while the County’s assessment freeze has limited the upward march of property values, you are still eligible to apply for a reduction in your assessment. Reducing the assessed value of your property to its proper value will protect you from unfair high tax bills.
Filing a property tax grievance in Nassau County – which begins a “reality check” of your assessment — is the smartest way to determine whether you’re eligible for a reduction, and there’s no better way to maximize this reduction than by choosing Maidenbaum to represent you. Remember, there’s absolutely no risk to you by doing this: even if your property is accurately assessed, and no reduction is secured, there’s no fee to you (if your matter happens to go to SCAR (Small Claims Assessment Review), the court filing fee is just $30).
We hope that you’ll choose Maidenbaum to represent you for the 2022/23 tax year. If you’d like to sign up or simply learn more about how the process works, please contact us today via our website or by phone at 516-336-8622.