Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Why are Property Taxes a Thing? What do they do?

Understanding Property Taxes
Property taxes are often not a favorite subject for people to discuss. In fact, most people who pay property taxes believe they are paying taxes that are way too high for the services they are receiving. In general, property taxes are based on the value of property you own. This is true for people who own real estate, vehicles and business property.

But in addition to how they come up with tax amounts many people are unaware of exactly what services they get from paying their taxes. It is important for you to understand what your taxes are based on and what your taxes pay for within your government. Basically, property taxes pay for a town to operate. They pay for schools, parks, government officials, road maintenance and first responders.

How Municipalities Create Their Tax Base

The first step for a municipality is coming up with a list of property value amounts within their district for real estate, vehicles and business property. Then, a town or city taxable rate is created by coming up with a budget of town wide expenses. From this, the municipal government creates a mill rate for real estate property and a tax rate for vehicles and business property to pay for the municipal budgeted amounts needed during a set period of time. These tax rates are equivalent to creating a percentage of value needed on these properties to pay for the governmental services to operate the community.

Property Valuation

In addition to understanding what your taxes pay for, it equally important to understand what things you own gets taxed and how they come up with the value of your property. Property taxes are assessed only on the things you own substantial value that fits into the category of real estate, vehicles or business equipment. Only these items are taxable, personal property, furniture and jewels etc. are not taxable.

Each taxable property is placed in a list by the town tax department and are valued by a town or city assessment office. The real estate of a town is compiled and put into a list called the Grand List. The motor vehicle list and business equipment lists are separate from the Grand List.

Once the lists are made, the tax department obtains values on each property owned. This is done by having value placed on the property by assessors who are educated in the field of property valuations and know how to assess values of property. The basic premise is that you are only taxed based on the value of what you own. This applies to real estate, vehicles and business equipment. 

Once your property is given a value, that value amount is then multiplied by the town’s mill rates and tax rates. This is what creates the amount you pay in taxes each year. The area that is often up to debate within this taxation system is the valued amount of property. This is the area that property owners often dispute in order to lower their taxes.

Contact us today if you have any questions. Don't forget, 

Nassau County filing deadline has been extended to April 2nd, 2018.
Suffolk County deadline is May 15th, 2018.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Which Types of Property Tax Relief are Available to Taxpayers?

To reduce the homeowners' property tax burden, there are various property tax relief programs available in every state. Of course, certain criteria must be met to qualify for the various property tax relief programs. 

For New York, the following property tax relief programs are available:

  • Property tax relief credit- to qualify, you must reside in a school district complying with their state property tax cap, have income less or equal to $275,000, have paid the 2017 school property taxes, and have received the Enhanced STAR or Basic STAR credit or exemption.

  • Basic STAR recipients- recipients who are eligible for this credit will gain a Basic STAR savings' percentage according to income. Also, there are credit limitations. 

  • New York City enhanced real property tax credit- this is for households with a gross income lower than $200,000. Also, you must have resided in the same residence of New York City for at least six months, must be a resident of New York City for an entire tax year, can't be claimed as a taxpayer's dependent on his/her federal income tax return, had a residence not completely exempted by real property taxes, and meet other conditions as a renter or homeowner. The Form NYC-208 has more details about this tax credit. 

  • Property tax exemptions- besides the STAR program, other common property tax exemptions for New York include the senior citizens exemption, veterans' exemption, exemption for persons with disabilities, and exemptions for agricultural properties. There are a lot more property tax exemptions than these mentioned. 

The following are other property tax relief programs which apply to every state, including New York:

  • Homestead exemption- property taxes are reduced on normally a principal residence through excluding a part of the property value from taxes. 

  • Circuit breaker programs- contracting with traditional homestead exemption through a variable, such as property value or household income, the eligible resident is someone who's property tax exceeds a certain level of his/her income. 

  • Expenditure limit- a ceiling is placed on how much the local government can generate in revenue. 

  • A Limit on the assessed value/the tax rate- is set in place when the value/tax rate is increased in a given year.

If you have any questions, please contact us today:  (516) 484-0654 or (631) 484-0654 |

Monday, February 5, 2018

Places to Visit During President’s Day Weekend

Lower East Side, the Hidden Gem of New York

President's Day is coming up and families love to travel. One thing a family can do is incorporate history in their trip. If you are going to travel or stay local, maybe think of historic places near New York City. When people visit New York City, they think of Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street and maybe ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy. 

However, one of the most overlooked districts of Manhattan is the ‘Lower East Side,’ known affectionally by locals as L.E.S. This old neighborhood is steep in culture and history, and a visit will reward you with unexpected discoveries, excitement, and knowledge for you and your family. Such a learning experience of our history is so close by.

Getting to LES is easy. Just take the F.M.J or Z trains and get off at Delancey and Essex. When you walk up the stairs you will be at the heart of LES. Here are a few ‘must go’ and ‘must do’ things when you visit LES.

1. The Tenement Museum 

If you have kids, then a tour of this restored tenement building is a must. It will make them appreciate the hardships our forefathers endured to live their dreams. They will be shocked by the squalor conditions where thousands of people were crammed into without running water or basic toilet facilities.

2. Katz’s Delicatessen

This 24/7 jam-packed Jewish deli opened for business back in 1888. During WW II the male owners all served in the armed forces. The family left behind began the popular tradition and slogan “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army.”

Katz’s achieved Hollywood fame when the comedy hit ‘When Harry met Sally' was filmed there. None English speaking movie fans will never forget that deli scene. Waves of Asian tourist still come to Katz and order NYC's biggest and meanest Pastrami sandwich that Sally had.

3. Economy Candy 

'Economy' is not a candy store as much as a library for candies. If you can not find a particular brand of candy, then the country probably does not exist. Russian chocolates are not well known, but it is delicious and make wonderful treats.

4. Bialystoker Synagogue 

Construction for this synagogue began in 1826 by Russian Jews that is present-day Poland. This historic site is significant to both Jews and American blacks. In the early days of the civil rights struggle, it was a rest stop for the Underground Railroad movement. Runaway African slaves from the South found sanctuary in the attic of Bialystoker Synagogue.

5. Mr. Purple / Hotel Indigo (180 Orchid St)

Mr. purple is the penthouse restaurant-bar on top of the boutique Hotel Indigo. It represents the new chic in LES. It has excellent views and a vibrant feel. Just beware, on weekend nights Mr. Purple will be jam-packed with young cruisers looking for quick hookups.

6. Freeman’s 

You will definitely impress your guest as a seasoned explorer when you take them to Freeman’s, a hidden gem in one of New York City's secret streets.

The walk down the graffiti-filled Freeman Alley is a trip in itself. At the end of the alley is Freeman’s, a very cool restaurant with delicious foods that is just as amazing.

A visit to Lower Eastside would make an excellent weekend destination during Presidents Day, for a whole family or just a single adult, for a day for the entire weekend. 

We hope one or two of these locations sparks your interest. Either yourself or you and your family will benefit taking a trip to one of these historic and local locations. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Great Places For Winter Fun In Long Island

For people who love the snow and live in and around Long Island, there are some great spots to enjoy fun in the snow throughout the island. 

While Long Island is not noted for heavy amounts of snow as other parts of the state are, the area is prone to a consistent regular snowfall each winter allowing people the opportunity to find great spots to sled, learn to snow board and even cross-country ski if there is enough snow.

While many people can readily build a snowman or a snow fort in their own yard in Long Island, finding a great spot for sledding, snow-boarding or cross-country skiing requires finding a great park with a good hill and some trails through the woods for cross country skiing.

Great Long Island Winter Fun Parks

Newbridge Road Park is one of the areas great parks because it has a hill that boasts to be about two stories high and a fifty-foot-long sled slope that is perfect for avid sledders to enjoy the snow. Additionally, there is a skating rink across the way for those who want a little indoor winter fun.

Eisenhower Park is another great winter park for families to enjoy snow. While not a steep declining hill like Newbridge Park, Eisenhower is in many ways a perfect spot for winter fun without worries of safety for younger sledders. It is almost designed for families with younger kids who want a gentler slope to navigate and a large area to sled in. This is a great park for cross country skiing as well with trails throughout.

Herman Griem Park which is located in Wheately Heights is a good spot for both families with younger kids and those sledders who want a little challenge. It features two hills for sledding enthusiasts. The hill on the right side is shorter but steeper which gives older riders a bit of an adrenaline rush. The second hill to left is not as drastic a decline on the hill which is great for a nice safe steady run down the hill. The park can easily handle over 100 people and their sleds so it is a pretty safe bet as a place to find an open lane for sledding.

Bethpage State Park is a good park that offers both sledding for the family and miles of great trails for cross country skiing buffs. The park is a world class golf course in the warm seasons so the slopes are well maintained underneath for a gentle sledding experience which is perfect for family fun with kids.

While there are no snow-boarding or downhill skiing official locations in Long Island, there are places good locations to begin to learn the sport in Long Island. Certainly, on any of the smaller sledding slopes mentioned here and in other spots throughout Long Island snowboarders in training can get some good time learning the sport before officially goring to a more advanced snowboarding location. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Why NOW is the Time to File a Grievance

An inaccurate property tax assessment can cost property owners thousands of dollars a year in unnecessary tax payments. If you realize that your property tax bill is too high, it is important to take action right away. The longer you wait, the more money you will be forced to pay out unnecessarily and the more difficult it will be to have the error corrected. If you believe you are being charged too much in property taxes, you should begin doing research to prove it and making preparations to have the state county, or local government lower it. You can also call Property Tax Reduction Consultants.

A Complex Process

Proving your property taxes are too high can be a complex process. It requires gathering information about the square footage, number of rooms, unique amenities, property values and tax bills of properties in your neighborhood that are similar in size to your own. You will also need photographs and documentation to prove that your property should be valued at less than some of the other nearby properties. You will then have to file a grievance, schedule a meeting with the tax assessor's office, present the information you have gathered and attempt to convince them to rule in your favor.

Consider Getting Professional Help

Gathering the information you need and filing and winning a grievance with the tax assessor's office can be challenging. Many property owners find they have a better chance of success if they have the help of an experienced professional that's familiar with the process. Some property owners hire attorneys to handle the process for them. At Property Tax Reduction Consultants they specialize in challenging inaccurate property tax assessments. They have a staff of well-trained, highly qualified tax professionals that handle tax grievances every day and are very familiar with the process.

Take Action Now

Whether you decide to file the tax grievance yourself or enlist the help of an attorney or Property Tax Reduction Consultants, it's essential to take action right away. Property owners have a limited amount of time after they receive their property tax bill to challenge it by filing a grievance. The amount of time one has to challenge the tax bill can range between 30 and 120 days depending on state, local and county laws. Plus, the process can be time consuming. Failure to file on time will cause you grievance to be automatically rejected.

Contact PTRC for any questions today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tips to Help Sell Your Home in the Winter Months

Selling your home in the winter months can present some unique challenges. I think we could all be in agreement with that statement! Depending on the area of the country that your home is located in, snow and ice and overall colder weather become factors. The days are shorter, the holidays keep people busy and so on.

If you are a motivated home seller there are many ways we can suggest to help you find a motivated buyer for your home. Here are some tips to help you market and sell your home faster in the winter months.

Keep the Exterior of Your Home Accessible and Inviting

  • Pathways and steps should be kept clear of snow and ice.
  • Turn on all exterior lighting in the front and rear of your property.
  • If you have a driveway, keep a space clear for the buyer to park. 
  • Make sure the railings are properly secured, and not loose or wobbly.

The Inside of Your Home Has to Sparkle!

  • Carpeting should always be freshly vacuumed. 
  • Keep the seating areas clear, such as the kitchen or dining room table. The buyer may want to sit down and talk, or have a cup of coffee.
  • Dust and polish the furniture until it shines!

In general, always be ready for a potential buyer's visit to your home. You (and your home) only get one chance to make a good first impression. You do not want to be caught off guard!

Put the Lights on in Every Room

  • Even if it is dark and gloomy outside, your home will be bright and cheerful.
  • Your well lit home will show better and keep the buyer's attention longer. A good thing!

Don't Forget to Set Your Thermostat

  • You will want to set the temperature to a comfortable level of heat.
  • The buyer will want to stay longer in your home. That is the goal!

A Pleasant, Aromatic Scent in Your Home Works Wonders!
  • Be sure to choose a light pleasing scent.
  • Use it gently, you do not want to overdo it!
  • For the kitchen, plan to use familiar and comforting aromatic scents such as brewing coffee, perhaps some sweets in the oven and a small pot of simmering cinnamon. 
  • The buyer will want to stay longer in your cozy and welcoming home and will not want to rush back into the cold winter weather. And that is a good thing!

If we can be of any assistance to you, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Property Tax Reduction Consultants Website: 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ways to Save in 2018

If you are looking for some new and different ways to save money in 2018, then you come to the right place. The following savings tips can help you save change around your home and the money management tips can help your finances to grow. Let’s look at some money saving tactics that will make your finances grow in 2018. 

American people are not great savers when compared to other countries. However, that does not mean that American people can’t be great at storing their money away for an emergency economic situation or as a financial cushion against for future use. Self-control, diligence and careful planning are a few habits that you can get going to build up some savings.

Self-control is important because it will allow you to put money away instead of spending it all up once you get it in your hands. Diligence is necessary because it will keep you on the right track with your savings goals. Careful planning is needed so that you know what you want to save for and how much you need to put away each pay period.

Most people look at time in terms of past, present and future. This is a linear way of seeing things. While this is no problem in terms of how you see your life, it can be problematic when it comes to saving. Why? Because people who see things in terms of a linear time progression tend to be more optimistic about their savings. In other words, they save less money because they think they will always have money in the future. So, they end up spending more than saving. This isn't the case when it comes to your finances. Plan ahead!

Start by budgeting your income every month. How much you intake v.s. how much you spend. Account for all your bills. Any extra at the end of the month should go in savings. "How on earth do I do that?" you might be asking, it's possible, but tough. Extremely tough. Begin subtracting things out of your day to day life that are not vital to your well being. Things like, subscriptions to apps like Netflix or Hulu, or meal boxes like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. 

Then move on to more drastic measures like slowing down on eating out so frequently and taking long distant trips. Viewing movies you already have versus going out into the local cinema for the newest movies.  These are just a few things to test run and start off with to get your savings going. Once you see some numbers stack up, it almost becomes a game to continue to see how much more you can save up.

Another thing you should is make your savings automatic. This simply means taking out a certain percentage of your money from each of your checks and not touching it all. You can have this set up through your credit union or bank account. 

One great way to start your savings program is through your tax return. Business and home owners should come to P.T.R.C. or Property Tax Reduction Consultant for their services before the tax cut off date.