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PROPERTY TAXES!

PROPERTY TAXES!
Mayor Bloomberg is proposing to raise property taxes by 7% as early as January in order to avoid a budget shortfall. While you can't challenge the tax rate, you can contest your property tax assessment, says Joe Giminaro, co-manager of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan's Tax Certiorari Group, whom we visited in his Maiden Lane office. The next opportunity to appeal your assessment before the Tax Commission is between January 15 and March 1—but now is the time to start preparing.
PROPERTY TAXES!
Consider this a relatively painless tutorial (after all, we're mainly pictures): Property is assessed at a percentage of its market value, but since the City relies on rental income data to determine market value, a drop in asset price doesn't necessarily mean a decrease in assessment, Joe tells us. Since the City uses data that is often a year or more old, it's looking at 2007 numbers (remember that real estate market?). So if your rents were up and vacancies down last year, you might see an assessment increase come January. Luckily, Joe'stips: Maintain good records;prepare your case early (especially if you're already experiencing drop-offs in rent collections or higher vacancies);file your appeal with the City in a timely matter (filing deadlines are hard and fast, no excuses); know how the economyaffects your tenants; and (of course) hire a good tax attorney.
PROPERTY TAXES!
Take it from an Eagle Scout—Joe knows a thing or two about preparation. When he's not busy with tax appeals, he's helping son William move up the Scouting pole. Both are also black belts in martial arts. And if you like Thin Mints, daughter Katie is in Girl Scouts—we hear Joe's taking orders.