By: Daniel Tartaglia, Esq.
Like other professions, Tax Assessor's use a lot of jargon. BAR and SCAR are easy to understand because they are simple acronyms.
The BAR is the Board of Assessment Review in counties outside Nassau and NYC or the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) in NYC and Nassau County. The BAR consists of three to five members appointed by the city council, town board or village board. The BAR cannot include the assessor or any staff from the assessor's office. Assessors, however, are required to attend all formal hearings of the board and have the right to be heard on any complaint.
You have the right to attend the hearing of the BAR and to present statements and/or documentation in support of your grievance. You may appear personally, with or without your attorney or other representative.
If you choose to be represented by your attorney or other representative, you must authorize that person to appear on your behalf (see Part Four of Form RP-524).
The BAR may require you or your representative to appear personally, or to submit additional evidence. If you refuse to appear or answer any material question you will not be entitled to a reduction in assessment by the BAR.
You will receive a notice of the board's determination. The notice must contain a statement of the reasons for the board's determination.
The Small Claims Assessment Review is a procedure that provides property owners with an opportunity to challenge the assessment on their real property as determined by the Board of Assessment Review (the Board) (in counties outside Nassau and NYC) or the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) (in NYC and Nassau County). It is a less costly and more informal alternative to a formal Tax Certiorari proceeding, which can be time consuming and expensive and requires an attorney. As outlined in Section 730 of the Real Property Tax Law, property owners may petition the court for review of their property assessment before a specially trained hearing officer for a nominal fee of $30.
However, Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) is only available to:
o Property owners who live in their one, two or three family dwellings that are used exclusively for residential purposes, or
o Owners of vacant land that is not of sufficient size to contain a one, two or three family dwelling
Otherwise, you are left with the more formal Tax Certiorari proceeding.