Jacobs applauds County initiative allowing property owners to appeal tax assessments online, for free

Nassau County Is First In New York State
To Offer Service Electronically

February 3, 2006

Mineola, NY – Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (Woodbury) today announced that Nassau became the first county in the state to offer property owners the ability to now appeal tax assessments on their properties – free of charge – through the county’s website, http://www.NassauCountyNY.gov. Nassau County is the first in New York State to offer property owners the opportunity to appeal their assessments electronically via the Internet.

Legislators Jacobs has been a steadfast supporter of all of the county’s eGovernment initiatives that have been brought before the Legislature over the past several years. The county also recently unveiled an online vendor registration. The “eProcurement” program levels the playing field when it comes to county contracts, allowing diverse companies and individuals to register and submit bids directly through the county website.

“The Majority’s support of numerous e-government initiatives put forth by the administration has finally brought this county into the 21st Century,” said Legislator Jacobs. “In just four short years this county has progressed from the stone age to the cutting edge of the technological age. This online program is part of the county’s ongoing effort to make county government more accessible to Nassau’s residents.”

Homeowners and commercial property owners have until March 1st to file appeals of the most recent assessment, using either the new online system or the traditional paper method, Legislator Jacobs said.

A.R.O.W., or Assessment Review On the Web, not only allows taxpayers to review the county’s assessments of their properties and file appeals, it also lets users research real estate sale prices in any Nassau neighborhood – all online, and all for free. County residents can access the new online service directly at http://www.NassauCountyNY.gov/arc/AROW or by following the link to “Assessment Review” under “eServices for Residents” on the County’s homepage. The program includes simple step-by-step instructions to navigate the appeal process.

Property taxes are calculated based on assessments of the properties’ market value. Since 2003, the county has been updating these assessments every year. Prior to 2003, a complete reassessment hadn’t been done since the 1930’s.

“Property owners should get into the habit of checking their assessments every year to make sure they accurately reflect the market,” said Glenn Borin, Chairman of the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission. “And if they find any discrepancies, we encourage them to file appeals. This will help us ensure tax fairness.”

Along with giving taxpayers the option of filing their own appeals, A.R.O.W. provides lots of other useful public information:

  • once appeals are filed, taxpayers can check their status online.
  • property owners can research recent sale prices of homes and buildings, in any Nassau neighborhood;
  • users can look at maps, aerial satellite photographs and individual photos of each property in Nassau County;
  • tenants, who pay a share of their building’s property tax bill, can check the outcome of the owner’s assessment appeals.

To appeal assessments electronically, property owners must first register online. The registration process asks users to create a user name and password. Users only need to register once, even when filing appeals on several properties. Since A.R.O.W. launched last month, some 11,000 appeals have already been recorded electronically, Borin said.

Last year, before A.R.O.W. was up and running, property owners and third-party firms filed about 155,000 appeals of 2005-06 assessments. Of those, 136,000 were for residential properties. One third of the residential appeals were upheld, resulting in the reduction of their assessments and an average tax savings of $1,135. But the county didn’t have to pay out refunds for these successful appeals, because the adjustments were made before the tax bills were issued.

“Making these adjustments before the final bills are issued is a win-win for both the taxpayers and the county,” Legislator Jacobs said. “The property owners don’t have to pay out the excess taxes, and then await a possible refund. And Nassau County saves money as well. If the county is forced to pay refunds – after the payments have been collected – it must refund not only the county’s share of taxes, but town, school, and other special district taxes as well.”

State law, modified at the county’s request in 2002, provides a 15-month window for the Assessment Review Commission to make adjustments before property tax bills are issued.

            The deadline for filing a grievance is March 1, 2006.  Please feel free to call Legislator Jacobs’ office at 516-571-6216 with questions or for more information.