Homeowners appeal new assessments

More than 18,000 homeowners are appealing their properties’ new assessments with the Board of Revision of Taxes, an agency that typically sees between 1,000 and 2,000 appeal applications annually.

But 2013 is not what anybody would call a normal year, at least, not as far as taxes are concerned.

This year, a citywide real estate reassessment was completed, and many saw their properties’ assessments balloon under the Actual Value Initiative. The values now assigned to properties are supposed to be what those properties would sell for — their market values.

Those who disagreed with the new numbers were free to ask the Office of Property Assessment to review the assessments. Almost 50,000 property owners did just that. However, the burden was on them to persuade OPA the new values were wrong. Many simply didn’t, or even try to, according to city officials, so they got big “Nos” from OPA.

Their next step is to appeal to the BRT. As of Monday, 18,154 had done that, according to Carla Pagan, executive director. The deadline to file an appeal was Oct. 7, and so many came in that BRT workers still are counting.

“We’ll finish up just above 20,000,” Pagan said in a Nov. 3 email to the Northeast Times.

BRT’s attitude toward the appeals is pretty much the same as OPA’s. A taxpayer’s ability to pay more taxes on a property isn’t what the BRT’s people need to hear. They want to know why the assessment is wrong. A taxpayer who can show other nearby properties sold for far less than the new assessment number is likely to do better with his or her appeal than the taxpayer who just whines. ••