Frequently Asked Questions

What is “assessed value”?


The assessment is the value placed on your property by the town, but differs from the market value. Your assessment divided by the RAR or residential assessment ratio, should give you your town’s estimate of your property’s market value. If you believe your property is worth less than the town does, then you should file a grievance.




What is a tax grievance?


A tax grievance is a formal process of protesting your property’s assessment. It is done by preparing an application (FORM RP-524) and submitting it to your town office by the appointed day, complete with supporting evidence to prove your case. It also generally refers to the process of filing a SCAR (Small Claims Assessment Review) with the SCAR Division of the NYS Supreme court to appeal the decision of the Board of Assessor’s Review.




How can Aventine save me money?


Aventine is licensed by the County Dept. Of Consumer Affairs to represent property owners in grieving their property taxes.
We help you save money on your property taxes by filing a grievance on your behalf proving an unequal assessment of
property taxes on your property, if such is the case. Many times, a grievance is denied at the Board of Assessment review level and a SCAR (Small Claims Assessment Review) is filed on our client’s behalf. Aventine handles the entire process for you, from beginning to end, all with absolutely no risk on your part.




Why use Aventine instead of another company?


Aventine is the only company that possesses a patent-pending automated valuation system that quickly and accurately determines the likelihood that your assessment can be reduced. This is important, because this gives us the ability maximize the potential reduction we can substantiate on your property and also enables us to value unique properties.




What is the risk of filing a tax grievance?


If Aventine determines that you property taxes are accurate based on your property’s value, we will not accept your case and the contract will be canceled, with no further obligation to either party. If we believe you have a case, we will prepare all paperwork, submit the grievance, file an appeal if needed, lay out all fees and handle the whole process for you from beginning to end. We believe so strongly in our service, that we do not charge a penny up front and take all the risk ourselves. This means that you can be assured that you will not have to pay one cent if we do not win a reduction for you.




What is the cost of using Aventine to handle my grievance?


Aventine charges 50% of the SAVINGS for the first year only, (all future year savings are yours!) Plus the $30 filing fee if applicable and an appraisal fee of $75, ONLY if we win a reduction for you and ONLY based on the first year’s savings. If we do not win a reduction for you, you pay NOTHING.




If I believe my property is over-assessed, how can I find out if it is worth filing a grievance?


Simply click here and sign and return our no-risk Retainer Agreement and we’ll review your property and file if it makes sense to do so. It is always worth it for you to file a grievance, because it costs you nothing and there is no risk to you if you can’t get a reduction!




I think my property taxes are about right. Why should I file? I don’t want to draw attention to my bill, might they raise my taxes?


Assuming you are not an appraiser, a vague notion of your property value is not enough to determine your assessment. Let us review your property. If we think you are over-assessed, we will analyze your property and follow through with the complete process. Your taxes can NEVER be raised simply because you filed a grievance.




What is the best way to get in contact with Aventine?


Just call us at: (914)372-1757 (631)673-6738 (516) 512-8939 Email us at TaxGrievance@optonline.net or Fax us at: (914)372-1758 (631)673-6706 (516)512-8943




Will someone come to my property if I file a grievance?


NO. No one from the town assessor’s office or Aventine will come to your property if you file a grievance. This is a common misconception. Don’t let this myth cost you a reduction you may deserve.




I pay village taxes in addition to my town/city/county taxes. If I obtain a reduction in my town/city/county assessment, will my village taxes be reduced too?


It depends. Some villages are not self assessing which means they utilize the assessment of the town/city/county in which they reside; however, other villages are self-assessing which means that they maintain their own assessment roll and their assessments must be challenged separately from the town/city/county. Often these villages have separate filing deadlines and a separate retainer agreement may be necessary. Be sure to check the Grievance Deadlines. Even if you missed the deadline to file for Village taxes, you can still file against Town, County, and School taxes. Do not miss out on an opportunity to save.




Can my taxes be increased if I file a grievance?


No. Your application will only result in either a successful reduction of your property taxes, or a denial of a reduction. Your taxes will not go up simply because you filed a grievance.




Will I have to talk to any town officials, attend meetings, or go to court?


NO. Aventine files all paperwork, pays all fees, attends all meetings, hearings and conferences and handles the entire process from beginning to end. Unlike attorneys or real estate brokers, our time is not divided among several activities. Your tax grievance is our only business.




How long can I expect the process to take from beginning to end?


The process is long and complex. It can take from many months to a year or more. Sometimes a decision is rendered in time to reduce your second-half bill, but more often, any discount is reflected on future bills and a refund is sent to cover any retroactive reductions in the current year tax bill.




I just won a reduction a few years ago, should I file again?


YES! Property prices have been on the decline and there is every chance that you are being over-assessed again. Why not find out each year? It costs you nothing and there is no risk.




I already have a STAR, VETERAN’s, SENIOR or other type of exemption on my taxes. Should I bother to apply?


Yes. We are talking about the assessed value of your property. Not your exemptions. Whether you win a reduction or not, all your current exemptions continue as before.




Can I contract with several Tax Grievance companies to see who can get me the best reduction?


NO. Just as you would not hire more than one real estate broker to list your house for sale, you can’t have more than one representative trying to lower your property assessment. It creates confusion, delays and if either one wins a reduction, you would be obligated to pay twice for the same reduction. Bad Idea!




Can I handle the whole process myself?


Absolutely. No representative is required to file a grievance. Just as you can repair your own automobile, program your own computer, you can file your own grievance. However, the process is long and complex, and many people find that it is just better and easier to let a licensed, qualified company, which specializes in the field to handle their grievance. It makes sense, it saves time and often, provides a better result.




If it is determined that I am over-assessed and I win a reduction in my property assessment, for how many years back will I get credit?


Grievances are for the current tax year only. Any previous taxes already paid are not recoverable. The new assessment is valid for this and future tax years. That’s another reason it makes sense to file a grievance now with Aventine. The sooner you reduce your assessment, the more you can save over the long haul.




Is there any advantage to waiting until closer to the Tax Grievance deadline to sign up with Aventine?


NO. The process is labor and time intensive. Start now to avoid delays and allow time for the work to be done properly. Last year, we had to turn away property owners who waited until the last minute to sign up with us. It just takes time to order the appraisal, prepare the paperwork and submit the file to the town before grievance day. If you miss the deadline, you have to wait a whole year to try again and any savings you might have won for this year will be lost.




Can I make payment arrangements with Aventine after I win a reduction to make paying the fee easier?


YES. Aventine is happy to work out a convenient payment schedule with you. We always take the long term view and work with our clients to develop relationships that stand the test of time.




I won a reduction in my property assessment last year through Aventine, but my tax bill is the same or even higher this year. How can that be?


Once we win a reduction for you, your assessment is reduced by the corresponding amount shown on the decision from the Board of Assessment Review or the NYS Supreme Court, SCAR Division. However, that doesn't’t prevent your town from raising the overall ratio or multiplier for your area. So while your property taxes might be the same or even a bit higher, they would have been MUCH higher had you not won the reduction! Good thing you filed!




Who can file a tax grievance?


NYS Law Says“Only: 1. a person named in the records of Suffolk County Clerk as a property owner; or 2. that person’s authorized agent; or 3. a person who has contracted to buy the property; or 4. the estate of a deceased property owner, is eligible under law to receive a tax assessment reduction and a property tax refund. If you are not in any of these four categories, you will not be able to receive a property tax refund and you should not sign this agreement.”




Can I grieve my commercial property?


YES. Real estate tax certiorari is the legal process by which a commercial property owner challenges the real estate tax assessment of a property to reduce its assessment, resulting in lower real estate taxes. Typical clients include office buildings, mini-malls, factories, warehouses, retail stores, restaurants, shopping centers, vacant land, and hotels. Much like a tax grievance for a 1-3 family house, a tax certiorari under an Article 7 must first be brought before the appropriate municipality Board ofAssessment Review. In most cases an index number must be purchased and a Petition must be filed at the County courthouse A Petition must be filed for each challenged tax year.For commercial owners wishing to challenge their assessments, an issue of critical importance is timing: these proceedings,which are authorized by Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law and are commonly known as "Article 7" must be filed withinthirty (30) days after the final completion and filing of the assessment roll. An Article 7 proceeding is essentially a trial de novoto decide whether the total assessment is correct. Trial courts have a wide range of discretion regarding disclosure and whatinformation will be permitted in court.




If I sell my house, does that release me from my contract with Aventine?


NO. Once you contract with us, we follow through with the process from beginning to end. You are obligated to pay our fee after a successful reduction application. Most people simply have the buyer sign over responsibility to the contract, which we are happy to accept, to relieve themselves from this responsibility. You simply have to remember to let the new buyer and Aventine know of this situation.




I am in contract to purchase a property. Can I grieve the taxes?


YES. If you are in contract to purchase a property, you have the right to grieve the property taxes on the house and can appoint Aventine to represent you.




I own multiple rental properties. Can I grieve them all?


NO. You can only grieve the property taxes on the property you live in. Non-owner occupied properties are not eligible and an application should not be filed for them.




Can I file a grievance every year, since I have no risk?


That depends, if you win a reduction at the Board of Assessment Review level, then yes, but if you win on appeal at the SCAR level, you have to skip one year in order to file again.




I was told that if my property taxes are reduced, my house is suddenly worth more. Is this true?


YES. The value of your property is directly tied to the amount charged by the town for property taxes. The typical property owner’s monthly mortgage payment is comprised of Principal, interest, taxes and insurance. If the tax portion of the monthly bill is higher, then the less is available for the Principal and interest portion. That’s right, for every $1000.00 of extra taxes you pay, your property’s value decreases by almost $20,000!!! (This example uses a 30 year mortgage at an interest rate of 5%)




How do you take payment?


We accept payment with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Wire Transfer, Paypal, Check, Money Order, Etc. We also work out payment plans for our clients when needed.





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