Tuesday is Grievance Day in every town in Suffolk, the last day when property owners can challenge the assessed value of their homes or businesses in an effort to get this year’s tax bill reduced.
Every town sets its own hours, and most sessions will be held in the respective town halls. Southampton, however, will conduct its Grievance Day -- as it has for several years -- in St. Rosalie’s Roman Catholic Church on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.
The most successful grievances are those in which a town assessment is clearly in error -- for example, when it lists an extra bedroom or an in-ground swimming pool that does not exist.
Homeowners can also challenge assessments based on recent sales of similar homes in similar neighborhoods.
But to do that, they need to bring the appropriate paperwork; details on that can be found on forms in town assessors’ offices. Many towns have the appropriate form -- RP-524 -- on their website, as does the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Office of Real Property Tax Service.
Robert Scott Jr., chairman of the Southold Board of Assessors, said that Grievance Day crowds have gotten smaller in the past few years, as private grievance firms have taken over the work of filing grievances. He had fewer than a dozen people show up in person last year.
By law, Grievance Day is the third Tuesday in May in every town in New York State except those in Nassau County. Villages also have their own Grievance Day; many -- but not all -- were in February.
Town and village assessments must be grieved separately -- changing a town assessment does not change the village assessment.