On Monday, Chris Artur got a letter from the Board of Revision of Taxes that made him laugh.
In the letter, the Mayfair Realtor was asked if he knew the taxes on a house he owns on the 2700 block of Stevens Street likely will go down $40 in 2014.
What’s so funny about that?
Artur, an outspoken critic of the citywide real estate assessment completed this year, is appealing the new market value assigned to that property. What prompted Artur’s Monday-morning chuckling was that the letter asked him if he still wants to have his appeal of that assessment heard by the BRT, or if he’d like to withdraw it.
Funny, he thought, why would he?
Artur believes his property’s value is about $20,000 less than the $101,500 the city’s Office of Property Assessment says it’s worth. If the BRT agrees with him, his taxes will go down more than $250.
The arithmetic isn’t all that jolly, but it is easy. Multiply $20,000 by the city’s 2014 real estate tax rate of 1.34 percent (20,000 X 0.0134) and you get $268. If Artur loses, his taxes still will be $40 less than they were this year, so he really has nothing to lose by continuing to appeal.
Besides, Artur said, “it’s never been about tax rate; it’s about value.” The lower the value, the lower the actual taxes will be. Artur expects any decrease people see in their 2014 taxes will be erased if the city raises its rate in 2015.
The point of the BRT’s letter, however, was to try to erase at least 500 of the 22,894 assessment appeals the agency received this year.
“We sent out 2,000 of those letters,” BRT’s executive director Carla Pagan said in a Dec. 2 email to the Northeast Times. “I’d be happy if 25 percent came back as ‘withdrawn.’ ”
Many people filed their appeals “not knowing or understanding how to apply the new tax rate,” she said.
Still, many residential accounts are being reduced, Pagan added. “And a lot of those people appealed ‘just because.’ Some tax bills are going down, but the market value is still incorrect. We expect those homeowners to keep their appeals open. They should insist on getting the value right.” ••