Why Every Commercial Property Owner Should Consider Tax Certiorari

Capital Region Chamber
March 16, 2022

Every January after property tax bills are issued, clients call us to request help with their high assessments. Can we help? Absolutely.

What is real estate tax certiorari?

Tax certiorari is the legal process a property owner uses to challenge their real estate assessment to prove that an assessor’s valuation is incorrect, which in turn leads to a reduction in real estate taxes.

While property owners, developers and managers may be familiar with real estate tax certiorari proceedings, not many tackle the legal process. This is a missed opportunity for significant and recurrent annual tax savings.

At MCLC, we will help commercial property owners navigate the tax certiorari process with our deep working knowledge of real property valuation principals and municipal policies.

What can commercial property owners do to lower real estate tax bills?

Contact an experienced tax certiorari attorney for an evaluation. With the right action plan and team, the tax certiorari process can effectively challenge your real property assessment resulting in a meaningful reduction of your property taxes for many years.

Too often property owners file for judicial review without first having proof of their property values, only to later find the tax savings, if any, were not great enough to justify the costs of litigation. Property owners should work with experienced counsel like the attorneys at MCLC on that cost-benefit analysis.

How does the tax certiorari process work?

The tax certiorari process seems straightforward but is often complex. The statutory framework of the Real Property Tax Law sets requirements that serve as obstacles for property owners. The slightest variation from the requirements can result in the prohibition of judicial review of your tax assessment and dismissal of your case. Do it right from the beginning and hire an experienced tax certiorari attorney.

Dates in the tax certiorari process vary from municipality to municipality, but the key dates to remember:

  • The valuation date (July 1st of the previous year)
  • The taxable status date (March 1st)
  • The tentative roll date (May 1st)
  • Grievance Day (4th Tuesday in May)
  • The final roll date (July 1st)
  • The deadline to commence litigation (July 31st)

Does a commercial property owner need to wait until May to address the tax assessment?

No. Having an appraisal or a theory of valuation based on comparable sales in early spring can make for a productive meeting with the assessor as the municipality’s tentative assessment roll is being prepared.

Assessors are swamped in late April and May after the tentative rolls are filed, but they are often readily available to meet informally in March and April prior to the completion of the tentative rolls.  This is prime time to secure a significant assessment reduction without having to go through the administrative grievance process or file a case in Supreme Court.

Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr, PLLC is Your Real Property and Tax Certiorari Attorneys

Tax certiorari season is short; don’t miss your opportunity. Contact Jake Lamme today to arrange a case evaluation – jlamme@mclclaw.com or (518) 675-7740.  For more information about our Firm, our Legal Team, and our Practices, please visit our website at mclclaw.com, call us at (518) 855-3535, or email us at info@mclclaw.com.