Property tax appeals grew 35% over the past decade to a record 55K

Jacques Jiha
Jacques Jiha

Property owners filed a record 55,000 tax appeals this year, and the number of successful challenges is also on the rise.

The number of property tax appeals has grown 35 percent over the past decade, a figure that outpaces the number of properties added to the tax rolls during the same period of time by a factor of three, Crain’s reported.

What’s more, about 17 percent of challenges have been successful in reducing property tax bills in recent years, compared to 13 percent a decade ago.

The total market value of taxable property that the city uses as the basis for its assessments crossed the $1 trillion threshold in early 2016.

The greatest increase has come from individual homeowners. Roughly 30,000 co-op, condo and house owners filed appeals last year, about a third more than were filed 10 years ago.

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The reductions in those cases aren’t huge, but tax officials are likely to grant them.

“Commissioners are sensitized by their superiors to listen sympathetically,” an attorney who specializes in tax appeals told Crain’s. “If Mr. and Mrs. Jones come into court, give them a bone.”

But major landlords, who habitually file appeals as the normal course of business, have seen success, too. The Related Companies last year won an appeal for space at the Time Warner Center that resulted in an $18 million reduction to its property bill.

The Palace Hotel, owned by South Korea’s Lotte Group, and Tishman Speyer’s MetLife Building each had their bills trimmed by more than $5 million.

Attorneys for President Donald Trump last year won a $3,000 reduction to the taxes on his Trump Tower penthouse. [Crain’s]Rich Bockmann