Why Are Property Taxes in Westchester So High?

Why Are Property Taxes in Westchester So High?

If you live in Westchester County, you are likely very aware of a sobering fact – the taxes that residents pay are the highest average per household in the state of New York. Another disconcerting reality is that the manner in which property taxes are assessed is not uniform. This means that one homeowner can pay a higher tax bill than someone else whose property is not valued as highly. It is a situation that is as frustrating as it is unfair.

To say that the system of determining property tax in Westchester county is archaic is an understatement. Mount Vernon’s tax code is so old as to be considered an antique – it is from 1853. Other guidelines are forty years old or more, and the arrangement, as a whole is, anything but organized.

House Values and Inflation

When conducting an analysis of house appraisals and taxes charged, Carolyn Martin of Bronsville-Ley Real Estate found that older homes that had not undergone renovation were taxed less than newer homes of the same value. In the late 1990s, the government had made a concerted effort to correct mistakes in house appraisals but did not adjust for the hyperinflation of the early 2000s.

The Price of Education

Students in the state of New York are provided with some of the best schools – but it comes at a cost. The average price for each student is $19,818, and this is 85% higher than the national average. 60% of the average Westchester property tax bill is due to schooling, and it amounts to 13% of total income for residents.

It has been noted that the tax burden could be lowered if the state government helped more with local expenses, and there are at least five programs that exist to offset the enormous outlay. Two of these involve a check for homeowners, another is the STAR rebate, one is a tax freeze, and the last is a tax cap. Critics, however, say that these incentives merely mask the underlying issue: the taxes are too high.

If you believe that your home assessment is inaccurate and you want help with property taxes in Rockland, Orange or Westchester Counties in New York, contact property tax grievance service Sokol Group to help reduce taxes.

Image Courtesy of Pexels

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