Comptroller slams city’s property tax assessments

April 13, 2012 09:00AM

An audit on the city’s property assessments found more than 10 percent of Queens co-ops were overvalued by as much as 25 percent, according to the New York Post. Comptroller John Liu said the sudden spike was do to an unpublicized shift to a flawed new computer system that improperly compared properties. For example, in one case a co-op in the East Village was examined against a property in Washington Heights, according to the Wall Street Journal, and in another a parking garage was contrasted with a residential building, the Times said.

Liu’s auditors measured the market value of co-ops citywide to increase 12 percent in the property tax rolls, but Queens co-ops suffered an average 32 percent increase. Co-op owners in the borough raised complaints when the figures were released last year.

“The Department of Finance’s arbitrary decisions and actions will affect many families for years to come and raise serious questions,” Liu said. “Even after enormous public outcry, there is still no explanation behind many of the agency’s measurements of market value.”

While the Finance Department previously admitted some flaws in its accounting, it contested some of Liu’s findings saying he “cherry-picked” the data, and noted that just 3 percent of Queens co-op owners who appealed their tax bills were given any refund. [NYT], [WSJ] and [Post]