Glossary

This Glossary has been prepared by Elizabeth B. Roche, Property Tax Consultant, for home owners in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, NY, where the ten Towns (Babylon, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Smithtown, Southampton, Southold) have priamary taxing jurisdiction.

Ad Valorem Property Tax
The Property Tax is said to be Ad Valorem when it is based on Market Value.
Adjusted Market Value
The value found by reducing the Fair Market Value by any exemptions or adjustments, i.e. for veterans, seniors, the disabled and STAR.
Article 7 Proceeding
Commonly called a tax certiorari proceeding, it is typically used in commercial cases, but may be used by a home owner to provide judicial appeal of a Board of Assessment Review decision. Filed by an attorney, it usually requires an appraisal and expert testimony by the appraiser.
Article 78 Proceeding
Named after the section of law defining this type of judicial appeal. May be used to challenge a Board of Assessment Review decision. Must be filed by an attorney on grounds (a) that the decision didn’t follow the BAR’s own rules, (b) that it was “arbitrary and capricious,” or (c) that it was not supported by “substantial evidence.”
Assessment
The Assessment or assessed value of your real estate — typically your house and land — is the value used by the Town in calculating your Property Tax. The Assessor establishes the Assessment by multiplying the Adjusted Market Value of your property times the Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR)/100.
Assessment Roll
The list of all assessable property within the Town, where each is identified by location, owner and Assessment. The filing of the Tentative Assessment Roll on May 1 opens the Grievance period. The Final Roll is published July 1.
Board of Assessment Review (BAR)
Town board which provides administrative review of a Property Tax Grievance. It reviews grievances filed on the basis of Unequal, Excessive, Misclassified, or Unlawful Assessment.
Comparables
Also called comps, Comparables are properties similar to the subject property in type, location, size, age, and condition. Recently sold properties are favored since their market values was established by the sales.
Equalized Value
Also called the Assessor’s Market Value is the ratio of the Assessment/RAR X 100. If the equalized value is greater than the Fair Market Value, your property may be over-assessed.
Fair Market Value (FMV)
Also called Full Market Value and Full Cash Value. It is the price a property would fetch if on the market for a reasonable time, and if both the buyer and seller were knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured.
Informal Hearing
The first step in the property tax protest process. The property owner or the property tax consultant meets with the Town Assessor to negotiate a settlement, failing which a petition is filed with the Board of Assessment Review.
Property Tax
Billed on December 1, the Property Tax is calculated by multiplying the Assessment times the Town tax rate.
Property Tax Grievance
Sometimes “Petition,” “Complaint,” “Protest,” or, erroneously, “Appeal” is used in place of “Grievance.” Generally means the process by which a home owner fights for a reduced Assessment and thus reduced Property Tax. More correctly applies to the form filed with the Board of Assessment Review.
Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR)
New York State determines the RAR. Also called the level of assessment, it represents the median ratio of assessed value to market value of all homes sold in your Town in the past year.
Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR)
The judicial review or appeal in Small Claims Court of a Board of Assessment Review decision. There is a $30 SCAR filing fee.
Tax Certiorari
The legal process by which a property owner can protest his Assessment in an effort to reduce it and the Property Tax.