Tax Correction Agency was founded in 1991 by Lance Geller and Peter Norberto to provide professional representation for homeowners seeking real estate tax relief.
Utilizing proprietary computer programs, and in accord with taxpayer rights guaranteed by New York State law, TCA represented over 2,000 Nassau County homeowners in its first year, and won over 97% of its cases.
Through 2020, TCA has filed more than 330,000 residential tax grievances in jurisdictions across New York.
We have always done business as Tax Correction Agency; no name changes in 28 years.
What Is a Tax Grievance?
First, let’s define “assessment.” Many people confuse their assessment with their tax bill, but they are quite different terms. Assessment is the basis of your real estate tax bill: Generally, real estate tax is your assessment multiplied by the tax rate. The assessment assigned to your home (by the local assessment department) is supposed to be a certain percentage (may change annually) of the fair market value of your home. Pegging assessment to value means higher value homes have higher real estate taxes than lower value homes.
Problems arise because the basis of your tax is fair market value, but it is often difficult to determine fair market value. (Estimates can often be easily disputed). Problems also arise because assessors sometimes lag behind real estate market moves and assessments get stale. To their credit, New York State lawmakers recognized that determining fair assessments is an inherently problematic job, and they put a system in place specifically and uniquely designed to facilitate homeowners’ access to a fair assessment.
The system consists of two parts:
The first level: a complaint is filed at the local assessment department seeking an “administrative review” of the assessment. The homeowner is effectively complaining that the assessment is a higher percentage of market value than allowed by law (this percentage can change each year, and is sometimes hotly debated). The assessor examines the evidence provided on the complaint and may schedule face to face negotiations before making a decision.
The second level: if the assessor’s decision is unsatisfactory, the homeowner may file a petition with the court for a “Small Claims Assessment Review.” This is, in effect, a lawsuit against the assessment department and requires a small court fee. Both sides (homeowner vs. assessor) will provide the court with data defending their respective assessment claims, and the court will determine the outcome.
Why File a Grievance?
The short answer is because when you win, you save money by paying less real estate tax. Also, your house can be more easily sold, and for a better price, as buyers can afford higher mortgage payments.
The long answer is a little more subtle. The hard reality of the system is this: if you don’t file and win a tax grievance in a given year, you will subsidize those who do. Municipal budgets are unaffected by fluctuations in assessment, meaning the municipality will simply increase tax rates to compensate for reduced assessments. (Note that in general, tax revenue = assessment multiplied by tax rate). So, when your assessment remains the same but others’ go down, you wind up paying a higher rate on the same assessment.
We are not the only ones to make this observation. Even ORPS (Office of Real Property Services, a New York State government agency) has called the system a “zero sum” game. This is a fancy way of saying that when someone else wins and you don’t, you don’t stay even, you lose.
How to File a Grievance?
To save money on your property taxes, you have the right, by law, to file a property tax grievance. You do not need to hire a representative to act on your behalf. You can easily discover the procedure by visiting your local assessment office or looking it up online on your assessor’s website.
However, allowing us to file your property tax reduction increases your chances of winning your property tax grievance claim. You would need to fill out and file the paperwork correctly, without any errors, and justify your claim in writing. If you are turned down at the first level, you would need to file a second set of paperwork appealing the decision. This initiates a legal action against the assessment department requiring you to be prepared to appear at a court hearing to defend your claim. At the hearing you will be opposed by the professionals sent by the Assessment Department to defend their assessment. We have skilled and experienced attorneys that will work to make sure you win, if your property tax grievance end up in court.
Some homeowners are quite able to accomplish all this, and have the time to devote to it. Most are not. We would say the same thing about replacing the roof or adding a dormer to the attic.
We simplify the complicated process about with a simple online form. If you choose to file with Tax Correction Agency, use the online application, or just print out an application, fill in the details, sign it and mail it to us.
What is the Risk?
There is none… Seriously!
We do not charge a fee if we do not win.
By law, the assessor cannot raise your assessment because you challenge your assessment. Your local assessor will not take punitive action against you because you file. There is no reason why you should wait to take the opportunity to file for a property tax grievance. It will take you less than 2 minutes using our simple online application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my taxes be raised because I filed a grievance?
No. By law, the assessor cannot raise your assessment because you filed a grievance. Your assessment can only go down or remain the same.
What about the “reassessment”?
Nassau County conducted a reassessment, which is being phased in between 2020 and 2025. This means tax increases for about two thirds of Nassau homeowners. They came up with brand new assessed values from scratch. Our results from the 2020-21 year suggest to us that the reassessment numbers are far from perfect, and well worth challenging, each and every year, especially during this five-year phase-in period.
Will anyone from the assessor’s office come to my house?
No one from the assessor’s office or TCA will come to your home.
Will I have to attend any hearings?
No. TCA prepares and files all papers and makes all appearances for you.
What if I have tax exemptions?
Exemptions are tax breaks for people in certain categories, such as seniors or veterans. They are separate from a tax grievance, which challenges the assessed value of the home. Typically a grievance has no effect on exemptions, nor vice versa. In the rare exceptions, we do factor that into our billing, so you’re never charged for savings we didn’t win.
I got a reduction some years ago; should I file again?
Yes. Because real estate values, levels of assessment, tentative assessments, and other factors can change unexpectedly from one year to the next, many homeowners who reduced their property taxes in the past are still able to win.
If a large reduction is granted, and a large fee is incurred, will you accept payment arrangements?
Yes, of course. And no, we will not charge any interest or late fees.
Can I grieve taxes I have already paid? Will my reduction be retroactive to earlier years?
No. The grievance process is almost always in advance of the tax year.
Yes. You have one opportunity to file a grievance every year. Once a tax year’s deadline passes, there is no recourse to file for that year. Filing a grievance each year ensures that you will not miss an opportunity to lower your taxes. Waiting for a resolution, which may not come until after the next filing deadline, could cost you in taxes down the line.
In Nassau County, the tax grievance process generally takes about two years from beginning to end. We begin accepting authorizations in the fall, then file with ARC in the winter and spring, negotiate with ARC by the next fall or winter, go to court if necessary the following summer, before the assessment we’ve (hopefully) won takes effect in the fall. The process is long, is all done in advance, and every year we are dealing with multiple tax years from the past, present, and future.
What are my taxes right now?
You can visit the County’s Land Records Viewer to see what you owe in your school and general levy property taxes. Note that village taxes are not included on the County’s website.
What will my taxes be in the future?
No one knows! Call your Receiver of Taxes, ask that question, and you will get the same answer. It’s not knowable. What is certain is that if you can get your assessed value reduced from the tentative value the Assessor determines in advance, then you will pay less than you would otherwise be destined to pay.
I heard the County “froze the taxes.” Why grieve?
Unfortunately, the term “freezing” is very misleading. Each year, the Assessor’s Office issues a tentative assessed value for every home, which takes effect about two years later. “Freezing” means that they tentative assessed values are “copied” from one year to the next. It’s what happens when the Assessor puts no effort into adjusting tentative assessments up or down. The County “froze” the roll for 2022-23 — meaning, they copied the roll from 2021-22 — but that still means you can and should challenge that assessment. It could be wrong — twice! — or it could be right once, but then too high the next year. Etc. It also doesn’t mean your taxes will stay the same: many things change from one year to the next, including budgets, federal and state aid, levies, tax rate, exemptions, abatements, number of households, etc. “Freezing” has zero effect on anything but the tentative assessed values — and even then, again, they are not “frozen” so much as “copied” from one year to the next.
Can I file a grievance myself?
Yes. However, homeowners who file for themselves may not get the reduction they deserve. Many are unprepared and don’t have the time, experience, data, or knowledge to deal with ARC and small claims court. We have 30 years of experience, and all the tools we need to negotiate your case to the best possible reduction.
In general, no. There are 64 villages in Nassau, each with its own way of doing things. That includes different deadlines, norms, processes, paperwork, offices, rolls, data formats, etc. Each village typically has too few households to be worth the close attention of a tax grievance professional. Every few years though, when we feel that the village rolls have gotten way out of line with reality, we select a few villages that we think are worth challenging. For 2023-24, though, we aren’t challenging any village assessments. Of course, we don’t bill for any village savings either.
No. If you sign with more than one company, you will delay your case. You might even end up with no grievance at all, if duplicate representation is not resolved in a timely fashion.
I won a grievance, but my taxes still went up, or stayed the same. What gives?
Many things change from one year to the next, including budgets, federal and state aid, levies, tax rates, exemptions, abatements, number of households, etc. A grievance can only challenge one variable — the assessed value — and even then, it is challenging a tentative assessed value for a future year that may be different from the assessed values of prior years. For example, for 2023-24, your tentative assessed value might be higher than in 2022-23. Or, you may have an exemption that gains or loses value. And so on. Regardless of what other variables change, a reduction in one year’s assessed value will always mean you pay less in taxes than you otherwise would, for that same year, as it is the base to which all other variables are applied.
I called your office but got a voicemail machine; How can I get a hold of you?
We are a small team of dedicated professionals who tend to each and every client individually. People also tend to call all at the same time — when the authorization period opens up in September, when the tentative assessed values are issued in January, when big tax-related news breaks, when ARC and SCAR decisions come in, when bills go out, etc. Please make sure to call Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, always leave a message if you don’t get a hold of someone, and know that we will always call you back. You should also feel free to write us any time, at info@TaxCorrectionAgency.org.
Our fee is contingent upon success. No reduction, No fee.
If we win, we charge a percentage of your first year savings:
40% of savings won at the Assessment Review Commission (ARC)
50% of savings won at Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR, i.e. small claims court)
To our knowledge, no other representative offers better value for money.