Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes. We challenge your assessment prior to exemptions. Whether you win a reduction or not, all your current exemptions continue as before.

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!

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.

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.

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 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!

NYS law says only the following people are eligible to receive a tax assessment reduction and a property tax refund:
1. a person named on the deed as recorded in the county clerk's office; 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
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.”

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.

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.

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.

Yes, but you must file a commercial tax grievance.

That depends, if you live in a reassessing district you can file every year. If not, clients that receive a SCAR reduction must skip one year in order to file again.

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%)

Refunds, if due, in successful tax grievance cases are usually paid by the County, as opposed to the Town. The current lag varies but depending on the municipality, it can take anywhere from 3-12 months to process these. The refunds are paid with statutory interest (so there is no benefit to the County slow walking these). Sometimes there is no refund because a tax bill may be adjusted before issuance or credited on a second half, obviating the need for a refund. In either event, the property owner is required to be made economically whole.

A successful tax grievance may also result in a reduction in a mortgage tax escrow account AND a refund from overpaid mortgage tax escrow account. However this is separate from the County refund (if there is any). If a property owner authorizes the filing, the County will not and cannot pay a refund check directly to the mortgage company, even if the mortgage company escrows the taxes. It is possible for a property owner with a successful case to receive both a County refund check AND a refund of overpaid mortgage tax escrow. This just depends on the timing of the reduction implementation by the Town. However, no matter what the case, the property owner is made economically whole

Even though you may have been unsuccessful in the past, since there is no charge to a property owner for an unsuccessful grievance, it is always in your interest to challenge your assessment periodically. There are at least two reasons why you should retry: 1) an annual Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR) is published which may make a case which was not good in the past, a good case now. 2) A different tax grievance firm may be able to get a reduction for you. Simply stated, all tax grievance firms are not equal. For example, our firm has proprietary computer systems/algorithms which have been used many times in the past to obtain reductions in cases where which our competitors have been unable to succeed and/or we have obtained larger reductions than have been generally obtained by competitors.