We work to aggressively defend municipal tax bases. Although there are certainly claims for reductions in assessments that should be settled as soon as possible, we are well aware of the larger impacts that quick settlements undervaluing commercial properties have on local economies. Yes, the instant litigation will go away, at least for 3 years, but this artificially low assessment is then undoubtedly used by Petitioners to form the basis for additional claims for reduction. More claims are filed and, little by the little, responsibility is shifted away from commercial landowners. Given the recent large amount of "blanket filings" by chains stores and restaurants, it's essential that each case be closely evaluated prior to settlement to ensure an overvaluation exists.
We can assist Boards of Assessment Review ("BAR") in obtaining all the information to which they are entitled to evaluate the merits of each claim. A carefully crafted RPTL §525 demand, coupled with an educated Board, ensures a more accurate initial evaluation and BAR determination.
In defending a claim for a reduction of an assessment, our first task is to evaluate whether there is a basis for a motion to dismiss based on a failure to comply with the terms of New York's Real Property Tax Law. We have experience bringing such motions and successfully defending them in New York Supreme Court and on appeal at the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. See, Ontario Square Realty Corp. v. Assessor of the Town of Farmington, Docket Number 12-000514 (2012).
As litigation proceeds, it is important that discovery demands are properly crafted. We work to ensure that the appraisers are provided with all information necessary to prepare a complete and accurate appraisal. Not only do we ensure that appraisals submitted on behalf of the municipalities meet all the statutory requirements and are founded in the methodology sanctioned by caselaw, but we also have the experience to recognize any deficiencies in the appraisals submitted by property owners.
If a matter should go to trial, we are thoroughly prepared, understanding all aspects of the appraisal process and the methodologies employed. Our goal is to demonstrate to judges that the municipal assessment is accurate in a compelling and interesting manner.
We also provide our municipal clients legal advice on procedure, notice requirements, RPTL §525 compliance and exemption eligibility. Upstate assessors are facing an increasing number of commercial challenges, many of which lack merit. A strong understanding of appraisal procedure and the underlying valuation methodologies are assets in defending these claims.
Twenty years of experience working with appraisers to apply all valuation methodologies to nearly every property type, including:
Large residential estates
Mobile home parks
Power generating facilities
Municipal water lines
Licensed gaming establishments