5 Common Mistakes When Challenging Your Tax Assessment
1. Doing it yourself.
Do you prepare your own Income Tax Return? Have you ever heard the phrase “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client?”
Frequently, taxpayers who try the “do it yourself” approach make errors or leave money on the table that professionals just don’t.
Furthermore, the vast majority of commercial property assessment reductions come at the Article 7 stage of the process, where an attorney is required by law, rather than at the earlier, civilian review stage.
2. Paying for an appraisal and submitting it before the Municipality obtains their own appraisal.
We negotiate 80% of our assessment reductions without incurring the cost of an appraisal.
Moreover, we operate on a level playing field: we only procure an appraisal when the Municipality is required to procure their appraisal. Why pay for something you don’t need?
3. Working with a non-attorney tax consultant.
(a) Non-attorney tax consultants by law cannot obtain property tax refunds with interest.
(b) Non-attorney tax consultants by law cannot obtain assessment freezes into the future.
(c) By definition tax consultants try to negotiate without our legal leverage and leave money on the table in exchange for a smaller but immediate one year assessment reduction.
Several of our national clients with local property in Western New York have come to us because they were dissatisfied with their national tax consultant.
4. Using an out-of-town attorney.
Attorneys from New York and New Jersey frequently try to muscle aside local practitioners. But they don’t know local property values, they don’t know local municipal and political officials, and they don’t know local attorneys and local court personnel.
Our firm has built up the local relationships to achieve our goals without the baggage or disadvantages of the out-of-town visitors.
5. Using an old financing appraisal because it’s already paid for.
Appraisals are not one size fits all. Are vehicles? Should you use your sister’s mini-van to haul the 12-point buck your brother shot?
Appraisals utilize different methodologies and different dates of valuation. Moreover, they may include furniture, fixtures, and equipment or business value – items relevant for financing or estate valuation, but excludable for assessment purposes. Appraisals for assessment challenges require adherence to specific court rules.
We work with forensic appraisers who know those rules and who can defend their work at trial if necessary. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.