Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the functions of the Assessment Department?
In accordance with the NYS Real Property Tax Law the Assessment Department locates real property, maintains inventory data, tracks ownership of all property in the town, places value on real property, processes exemptions, prepares and creates the assessment roll, prepares and assists the public by providing information with regard to all of the above.
Q. What does the Assessor do?
The Assessor is obligated by New York State Real Property Tax law to maintain assessments at a uniform percentage of market value, which for the Town and Village of Victor is 100%. In order to maintain a uniform assessment roll, each year the Assessor will analyze all the properties in the municipality to determine if any assessments need to be adjusted. This analysis involves comparing the sale prices of properties that have sold to their current assessments to determine how close the property assessments are to the actual sale prices. When the assessments in an area, or neighborhood, appear to vary from the actual sale prices, the assessments are adjusted and are reestablished at the current market value. The assessor may need to conduct physical inspections for reappraisals of properties. Every assessing unit should be keeping all assessments at a fair and uniform level every year. Every year the roll, with preliminary or tentative assessments, is made available for public inspection on May 1st. The assessment roll contains every parcel located within the Town and Village and shows tax account numbers, individual assessments, real property tax exemptions, property owners, property addresses, tax billing addresses and acreage. After the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) has acted on assessment complaints and ordered any changes, the tentative assessment roll is made final on July 1st. The Assessor signs an affidavit certifying that to the best of his/her knowledge the assessments set forth in the assessment roll are at 100% of full market value.
Q. How is an assessment calculated?
Before assessing any parcel of property, the assessor estimates its market value. Market value is how much a property would sell for, in an open market, under normal conditions. To estimate market values, the assessor must be familiar with all aspects of the local real estate market.
A property’s value can be estimated in three different ways. First, property is compared to other similar property that have sold recently, using only sales where the buyer and seller both acted without undue pressure. This method is called the market approach and is normally used to value residential, vacant, and farm properties.
The second way is to calculate the cost, using today’s labor and material prices, to replace the structure with a similar one. If the structure is not new, the assessor determines the depreciation since it was built. The resulting value is added to an estimate of the market value of the land. This method, called the cost approach, is used to value special purpose and utility properties.
The third way is to analyze how much income a property (like an apartment building, store, or factory) will produce if rented. Operating expenses, insurance, maintenance costs, financing terms, and how much money expected to be earned are considered.
This method is called the income approach.
Properties in sub optimal uses generally may not be assessed at market value; they must be assessed at their current-use value.
Once the assessor estimates the market value of a property, its assessment is calculated. New York State law provides that all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percent of market value. The Town of Victor assessments are set at 100% of market value. Everyone pays their fair share of taxes as long as every property in a locality is assessed at the same percent of value.
The assessment is multiplied by the tax rate for each taxing jurisdiction - city, town, village, school district, etc. - to determine the tax bills. (For further explanation of this process, see the pamphlet entitled, "How the Property Tax Works".)
Q. As a property owner, what are my responsibilities?
It is up to each individual property owner to monitor their own assessment(s). A taxpayer who feels he/she is not being fairly assessed should meet with the Assessor before the tentative assessment roll is established on May 1st. First, the taxpayer needs to call the Assessor's office to schedule an appointment, then in an informal setting, the Assessor can explain how the assessment was determined, the rationale behind it and answer any questions the taxpayer may have.
Q. Are there any real property tax exemptions that can help lower my taxes?
There are several real property tax exemptions available to qualifying property owners, [Link to Exemption List]. All exemption applications must be filed with the Victor Assessment Department on or before March 1st.
Q. How do I ask for my assessment to be reviewed?
You may ask the Assessment Department to conduct an informal review of your assessment by submitting an Informal Assessment Review Application, [Link to Complaints on Assessment page]. Informal reviews will not be conducted between April 1st and the Fourth Tuesday of May, instead please submit the "Complaint on Real Property Assessment" application form.
Q. My assessment seems higher than similar size and style homes in my neighborhood even after the Informal Assessment Review. How do I go about getting my assessment reduced?
The "Complaint on Real Property Assessment" form along with supporting documentation can be filed with the Assessment Department or with the Board of Assessment Review on or before Grievance Day, which is the fourth Tuesday in May of each year.
Q. But my taxes are still too high?
If your assessment is correct and your tax bill still seems too high, the assessor cannot change that. If you are concerned with the amount of property taxes being collected in your community, you may wish to be involved with the local budgeting processes. There are public meetings you can attend and voice your opinion, and you also have the opportunity to vote on your school budget. You should examine the scope of budgets and expenditures of each taxing jurisdiction (county, town, village and school districts) and address those issues in appropriate and available public forums.
For school district taxes, in addition to voting on the budget, you can attend budget meetings. Generally, the budget meetings are held in the spring through early April.
For municipal and county taxes, budget meetings are held in the fall through mid-November. Special districts (fire districts, sewer districts, etc.) also hold public meetings, but the dates vary. Contact the district for more information.