Assessor: Fernando Gonzalez, IAO
Phone: (914) 762-8393
Fax: (914) 762-8634
Assessor, Town of Ossining
16 Croton Avenue, 3rd Floor
Ossining, NY 10562
Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
Revaluation Impact Notice Information- March 15th, 2016
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The office of the assessor is charged with valuing all property in the Town of Ossining (the unincorporated area and the Villages of Ossining and Briarcliff Manor) for the purpose of apportioning property taxes. The total amount of taxes is determined by municipal and school budgets. Assessments only determine the share of that total that each property owner must pay.
Section 305 of the New York State Property Tax Law requires that all assessments within our town to be at a uniform (the same) percentage of value. That percentage (called the state equalization rate) is currently 5.95% based on appraisals and an analysis of property sales made by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS). Starting with the 2016 assessment roll, on completion of the current revaluation project, all property will henceforth be assessed at 100% of its current market value.
The total assessed value of town property on the 2014 final assessment roll was $309,371,829. Dividing this figure by the equalization rate of 5.95% applying to that roll, the total market value of this property becomes $5,199,526,538. The taxable value figures (for town purposes) were $259,625,739 and $4,363,457,798 respectively. The difference is the value of property wholly or partially exempt from property taxes – for our town about 16.08%. The assessment roll is used to levy county, town, school, village and special district (ambulance, solid waste, sewer, refuse, light, fire and water) taxes.
Most residential property - primarily single-family homes - is valued based on recent arm’s length sales. Income-producing property such as apartment houses and shopping centers is usually valued based on the income generated to the owner. Complex parcels for which there are very few sales – a utility generating plant for example – are valued based on the depreciated replacement cost: what it would cost to build the plant less the loss of value due to age and wear. Condominiums are a special case. Statute requires that they be assessed as income-producing property even though there are always many available arm’s length sales of these units. The result is that they are assessed and taxed at about one half of what would be the case if their assessments were based on market value
The assessor’s office also administers a multitude of real property exemptions mandated by state law – a total of 8,685 on the 2014 roll to be exact. Homeowners may receive the STAR, veterans and elderly exemptions to name a few. Certain properties such as those used for religious, educational or government purposes are wholly exempt from the real property tax. Exemptions will be discussed in more detail further on.
There are a number of statutory dates of which property owners should be aware. Whenever a statutory date falls on a weekend or holiday the next business day becomes the statutory date. These are dates that apply in the Town of Ossining (including both villages). Different dates may apply in towns and cities elsewhere in the state.
Taxable Status Date: May 1 – All exemption applications must be received on or before this date. The assessor values property as to its physical condition on this date.
Tentative Roll Date: June 1 - The assessor publishes the tentative roll on this date and makes it available for all property owners to examine. After this date, the assessor may not make any changes to the roll except as ordered by the Board of Assessment Review (BAR), a Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) hearing officer or a court order.
Grievance Day: The third Tuesdayin June – all grievances (to be discussed below) must be received. A grievance filed after this date will not be considered by the BAR.
Valuation Date: July 1 – Property must be valued for the following year’s assessment roll as of this date. Not to be confused with taxable status date. If a property owner adds a deck on March 1, it will be valued by the assessor for the tentative roll. But the value will be its value on July 1 of the previous year.
Final Roll Date: September 15 - The final assessment roll, incorporating BAR changes, is published and available for inspection.
30 Days after the filing of the final roll: Generally the deadline for filing SCAR or Article 7 (a court proceeding usually used by commercial properties) applications. But, there are exceptions. You should inquire about the exact date because a late filing is usually a fatal defect.
Take note that in Ossining, current year tax bills are based on assessments appearing on the final roll (unless changed by SCAR or court order) of the preceding year.
Every property owner has a right to contest his or her assessment. You may contact the assessor at any time, preferably by a letter setting forth the reasons why you feel that your assessment should be reduced. If you are dissatisfied with your assessment as it appears on the tentative assessment roll you may file for a hearing before the Board of Assessment Review on or before (but no later than) the third Tuesday in June. You may not seek further remedies if you do not first file with the BAR. You may or may not appear in person before the board as you see fit, but you must file a complaint form mandated by ORPTS.
Matters such as your ability to pay your taxes or the extent to which you use the facilities and services paid for by your taxes (“I have never had any children in the public schools.”) may seem important to you, but they are entirely irrelevant in the grievance process. The assessor may consider only the fair market value of your property. The burden of proof rests with the property owner and you must try to show that the assessor’s estimate of the value of your property is incorrect. A recent purchase price, recent sales of similar properties or an appraisal would all be appropriate evidence.
You will be notified of the decision of the BAR no later than September 15th. If you are not satisfied with that decision and are the owner of an owner-occupied one, two or three-family house, you may file for Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR). The standard of evidence is the same as that before the BAR and you do not need an attorney. Your grievance will be heard by a SCAR hearing officer and his or her decision is final. The filing form and instructions may be found at: http://www.nycourts.gov/litigants/scar/
Owners of complex commercial or industrial properties must file for a court hearing under Article 7 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, also known as a “certiorari”. Discussion of this procedure is beyond the scope of this document but you will definitely need an attorney familiar with Article 7 and you will probably need an appraisal which, for the type of property which uses this remedy, can be expensive. Homeowners may file for certiorari in lieu of SCAR, but very few do.
New York State law authorizes literally hundreds of real property tax exemptions. Most are mandatory but some may be implemented at the option of the local taxing jurisdiction. A discussion of three of the most common exemptions for homeowners follows. If you feel that property that you own maybe eligible for an exemption contact the assessor’s office.
STAR – The School Tax Relief exemption (RPTL-425) is available to all home owners (including condominiums and co-ops) who actually reside on the property and whose incomes do not exceed $500,000 per year. The enhanced STAR exemption is available to homeowners if at least one of the owners (husband & wife or siblings) is 65 year of age or older. The income limit of all of the owners for this exemption is changed every year and appears on the application form. These exemptions apply only to school taxes.
ELDERLY - The elderly exemption (RPTL 467) is available at the 50% level to senior citizens whose income does not exceed $29,000. The percentage of exemption decreases by 5% increments as income increases and owners with income of $37,400 and more are ineligible for this exemption. These limits may change from time to time As is the case with enhanced STAR, the income of all of the owners must be considered and at least one of the owners must be at least 65 years of age. The elderly exemption, however, applies to all property taxes: county, town village and school (but not to special districts).
VETERANS - There are three different veterans’ exemptions. If you have served on full-time active duty (but not active duty solely for reserve training) in the U.S. military since December 7th, 1941, you are almost certainly entitled to one or more of these exemptions. The assessor’s office will need to see a copy of your DD-214 discharge form in order to determine your eligibility.
The eligible funds exemption (RPTL 458) applies primarily to WWII and Korean War veterans and the amount of exemption is determined by certain funds received from the government that were used to purchase a home. It is applicable to town and village taxes but no new eligible funds exemptions may be accepted for Westchester County taxes. It does not apply to school taxes. The Alternative Veterans’ Exemption (RPTL 458-a) has been adopted by Westchester County and both the Ossining and Briarcliff Manor School Districts but not by the town or either village. To be eligible for this exemption the veteran must have served during a “time of war” whose dates are defined by statute. Veterans who served on active duty but not during a time of war are eligible for the Cold War Veterans’ Exemption (RPTL-458-b). This exemption is awarded by the town, the Village of Ossining and Westchester County but not by the Village of Briarcliff Manor.
All exemption application forms and instructions listed by Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) number may be accessed at the following ORPTS web site: http://www.tax.ny.gov/forms/orpts/exemption.htm
Town GIS Site
The Town of Ossining GIS may be accessed at http://www.caigisonline.com/OssiningNY/ Parcels may be accessed by street address, owner name or tax map number. The site provides a map of the area of the selected parcel, a photograph of any buildings thereon and, in the case of most homes, an inventory listing key features of the building.
New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services
This site displays a wealth of information about almost every subject related to assessment and real property tax administration. It may be accessed at http://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/