It’s that seasonal time of year again to challenge your property taxes

Here is something to get rid of those winter blues – putting more money in your pocket.  For the past two years I have been filing Westchester tax grievance applications for clients with a 50-50 shot at winning anything at the local level.  However, with the deadline for many villages looming next month, the future is a bit brighter.

Photo: Graur Codrin /

2010 was the first year the municipalities realized the tax rolls were over-inflated and began granting a reduction in property taxes to those who filed tax grievance applications.  Not everyone received the full requested discount but many received close to it.

Filing a tax grievance application is a relatively simple process and is worth the small appraisal fee for most homeowners.  Further, while many homeowners try to do self-help in filing the grievance application, it is also worth retaining an attorney to help you from the start.  The attorney’s fee is contingent on a reduction or refund received or judgment granted in court, if you must appeal, so there is no upfront cost to you except maybe filing fees.

It is also important to keep in mind that most municipalities in Westchester base your taxes on the prior year’s assessment, so if your village’s grievance deadline is mid-February 2011 for the 2011 tax roll, any reduction will not be realized until your 2012 taxes.  Therefore, don’t delay because prospective savings are still a year away.  Municipal summaries are available online or by calling your local assessor’s office for important filing deadlines and assessment figures.