The city has been buzzing in recent months over Mayor Bloomberg's historic 18.5 percent property tax hike and what it will mean for property owners throughout the five boroughs. The tax hike comes hard on the heels of serious increases in insurance premiums, rising fuel prices, and a lingering economic slump.
So as prices soar and various public services are cut back, it helps to be as informed as possible about some important upcoming March deadlines, as well as the twin engines of the taxation process in the city - The Department of Finance and the Tax Commission - and how they regulate one of the many government processes for spiriting away your money: the annual property tax assessment.
Before your tax bill is mailed, the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) draws up what are called "tentative" assessments of your property. Tentative assessments are annual preliminary evaluations of a given property with any adjustments made. According to DOF spokesperson Rob Roman, the DOF assesses every real property in the city annually - more than 900,000 of them - and adjusts the tax assessment according to a number of factors, including the property's value, overall condition, and the ownership of the property as of January 5 before the commencement of the city tax year.
"We're the revenue-collecting agency for the city. We prepare the tentative assessment roll, and once everyone has filed their contentions, the final roll is produced on May 25 to be used by the City Council and Mayor's office to determine a budget to establish the tax levy," says Roman. "The tentative assessment's role is to prepare the upcoming tax bills for the new fiscal year."
Tentative assessments can increase or decrease during limited periods beginning January 15. Before mid-February, the DOF sends out Notices of Assessment comparing a property's new assessment to the one made for the current year.