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Clavin Discusses Challenging Property Tax Assessments at Meeting

Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Hempstead gives tips on how residents can challenge their tax bills.

Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin at Monday night's Community Council meeting.
Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin at Monday night's Community Council meeting.
If you’re like many residents in Nassau County, you may feel like your property taxes are too high. But do you know how to potentially get them lowered?

Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin gave advice on how to challenge property tax assessments at Monday night’s Community Council meeting.

“99 percent of residents feel their assessments are too high,” Clavin said. “You know it’s too high, you’ve made up your mind. Now you have to challenge it.”

Clavin said there are two ways residents can challenge their assessments: by either hiring an attorney to do it or by doing it themselves, which Clavin suggested was the better option.

“You sign up for the attorney, a 50 percent split is the norm and a $35 fee,” he said. “Every person here is capable of doing it themselves. Does it involve some legwork? Yes.”

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That "legwork" involves getting the application - a five-page document with general questions about your home, your assessment and recent sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. The application can be obtained by contacting the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) at 516-571-2391 or visiting the Nassau County ARC website.

Because of Hurricane Sandy, the deadline to challenge your assessment has been extended from Jan. 1 to May 1.

“They want info. about you and your house - beds, baths, square footage," Clavin said. "Nassau County wants you to prove that your assessment is too high."

To find comparable home sales, residents can use online resources like the MLSLI or search Nassau County property records online.

"Levittown is really unique because you have so many pieces of property to compare with," Clavin said. "Minimum of three sales is always the best."

What Clavin said you should do next is make a photo copy of the application and the three houses you’ve found and go down to the County Assessor's Office at 240 Old Country Rd. in Mineola, and have them date stamp it prior to May 1.

You will hear a response in about 9-13 months, saying either it's been lowered or that you've been denied.

Even if you get denied, Clavin said there still is a chance for you in small claims court, where the decision will be reviewed by an independent third party. You have 30 days to file after the decision.

Homeowners may also be eligible to receive a STAR, senior citizen, veteran, volunteer firefighter, home improvement or disability tax exemption. Applications may now be filed year round with the Department of Assessment.

For more info., call the DOA at 516-571-1500 or visit their website.

There will also be a number of taxpayer seminars coming up for residents to get answers to property tax questions. The next seminar will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Levittown Library at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.


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