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Schuyler County Warns of Property Tax Scam


Schuyler County officials are warning property owners to beware of scams in which companies or individuals charge fees to dispute your property assessment or offer to appear in court for you without being licensed lawyers. In many cases, you can challenge your property assessment on your own, free of charge.

According to Real Property Tax Office Director Kelly Anderson, some property owners in Schuyler County are receiving a flier regarding a fee-based service to have their property’s taxable value reduced. The flier tells homeowners they must appeal “immediately” and offers to appear before the board of assessment review and in state court on the owner’s behalf. The flier does not fully explain the services, or the fees involved, yet it contains a signature line for property owners to indicate they have hired this company or individual.

“I am concerned about the potential for scamming the public and creating additional confusion. I have had a few very confused people come to my office who signed the solicitation letter believing that they are filing the proper paperwork to grieve their assessment,” Anderson said. “This is not the correct legal document for that purpose, nor does it protect their right to challenge their property assessment.”

According to Anderson, while a property owner may authorize another person or company to grieve their assessment, this process is something you can do for yourself for free by completing the New York State “Complaint on Real Property Assessment Form” (RP-524) and filing it on or before your town’s grievance day. Property owners are encouraged to contact her office or look online at the office’s official website for additional information.

According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, homeowners who believe they need legal assistance appealing their tax assessments should contact a local attorney or the New York State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 1 (800) 342-3661.

“New York State law prohibits non-lawyers from practicing law, and unauthorized practice may be a crime,” Getman said. “This may include impersonating an attorney or offering legal services under a title other than attorney or lawyer.”

According to Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Hourihan, anyone who believes they may have been the victim of fraud is encouraged to report complaints to their local law enforcement agencies or to the Schuyler County District Attorney’s office.

“Stressful and uncertain situations create opportunities for scammers to take advantage of vulnerable populations,” Hourihan said. “If you believe that you have been taken advantage of, or are a victim of fraud, please contact law enforcement immediately. Prompt reporting might save yourself or another taxpayer from a scam.”

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