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More New Yorkers than ever contesting property tax bills

Advocate Steinberg helps homeowners fight to reduce their tax bills. (Photo:Buck Ennis)

Aaron Elstein reports for Crain's:

Springtime means the start of baseball season. It's the time to put away winter coats and plan a seder or Easter egg hunt. It also marks the beginning of an increasingly popular pastime in New York: fighting Property Tax bills.

Last week the city began holding hearings at which people can argue that their home or office building is not worth as much as assessors say. A record 55,000 tax appeals have been filed this year, and though the rules say no hearing is supposed to last more than 15 minutes, it nevertheless is likely to take until November for the 20 hearing officers at the city Tax Commission to clear the dockets.

"It's a long, long season," Myrna Hall, the commission's operations director, said with a sigh.

The season has grown even longer in the past decade as more people protest their ever-rising property tax bills.

These days about 35% more appeals are filed each year than were filed a decade ago. That's more than triple the growth rate of new properties on the tax rolls. Property taxes are the city's largest source of income, and revenue from them has doubled in the past 10 years, reflecting a surge in real estate values and rents.

There's no end in sight. The de Blasio administration is forecasting property tax revenue will rise by more than 5% annually for the foreseeable future.

Read the full story here

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More New Yorkers than ever contesting property tax bills


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