Lost Your Local Tax Assessment Grievance? You Can Appeal through the County Clerk’s Office

Apr. 13, 2009

These are bad economic times.  Tax bills are rising while real estate values have dipped.  Homeowners looking for relief may try to reduce their property tax assessment through the grievance process.  Since it could be a record year for property tax grievances filed with a local Board of Assessment Review, it could also be a record year for rejections by boards.  Rejection by your local Board is not the end of the road.  If you live in a home you own, you can appeal that decision through the Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) process.

“With the age of our assessment rolls and property values dropping, many property owners will be reviewing their assessment status and should understand their right to a fair assessment,” stated County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.  Idoni went on to advise residential property owners to know their options and not to be intimidated by the legal process to have an appeal heard.  These are the steps in the process:

1.  Check with your local tax assessor to learn the date by which your original tax grievance must be filed at the local level.  Then file the grievance and attend your hearing.

2.  If your request is denied or you receive a lower reduction that you are not satisfied with, you can file a Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) petition in the Office of the Westchester County Clerk.  Your SCAR petition must be filed within 30 days of the filing of the final assessment rol1 in your community.  Each community may have a different date, so be sure to confirm the date in your municipality.  Late filing will result in your petition for appeal being dismissed.

3.  Review the step-by-step instructions and then complete a SCAR Index Application and Petition, all of which can be found at http://www.westchesterclerk.com/ by choosing Legal Division and then SCAR Petitions from the drop down menu.  You can also pick up these papers in the Office of the County Clerk

4.  If you are filing a SCAR petition by mail, be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope and note that cash and credit cards payments will not be accepted by mail.  Petitions should be sent to the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Legal Division, White Plains, NY 10601.

5.  Within ten days after filing your SCAR petition with the Clerk, you must mail a copy of your completed and signed petition to the clerk of the School District where the property is located, the Westchester County Commissioner of Finance, and the Assessor or the Board of Assessment in the municipality in which the property is located.

The Office of the Westchester County Clerk is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in White Plains and is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  For questions about the SCAR process, call (914)995-3070 or visit www.westchesterclerk.com.