Town of Lewiston

Linda E. Johnson, Assessor

About Your Assessment

The Town of Lewiston Assessor’s office will be reviewing and analyzing the assessments of each property in the Town. According to the Real Property Tax Law, all property assessments must be valued at the same uniform percentage. The Town of Lewiston 2016 assessments are at a uniform percentage of 71% of market value and the 2016 Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR) is 73% In order to maintain fair and equitable assessments according to the tax laws annual reassessment must be performed.

RESIDENTIAL ASSESSMENT RATIO (RAR)

The residential assessment ratio is an indicator of the level of assessment of 1,2, and 3 family homes within a municipality. The ratio can be used by property owners as evidence that they are not fairly assessed in comparison to other homeowners in the same community. The ratios are computed in the following manner. Appropriate sales of 1,2, and 3 family homes ranging over a one year time frame are selected. A ratio is computed for each sale dividing the assessed value by the sale price. The ratios are sorted in ascending order with the median ratio (midpoint) selected as the Residential Assessment Ratio. For further details, see RAR's

Equalization Rate: A weighted average ratio of the total assessed value in a municipality divided by the total market value. An equalization rate of 20% indicates that assessments were at an average of one-fifth of market value when the equalization rate survey was made. To view equalization rates in your county, go to Equalization Rates.

How to Use This Site

Glossary of Terms

 

Exemption Forms

Please click here for access to all exemption forms, including STAR

 

Here you will find general information about the assessment process. The links at the left will bring you to information about property inventory and assessments, photos, sales, and search capabilities.

Description of Duties of the Assessor

The assessor is the official who estimates the value of real property within the Town’s borders. This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of property tax bills.

The assessor maintains the assessment roll – the document that contains every property’s assessment. The physical description, or inventory, and value estimate of every piece of real estate in the municipality is kept up-to-date. The information contained on this site is taken from the 2013 Final Assessment Roll, filed on July 1st. 2013. The assessment roll may be reviewed on-line at Town Hall by appointment before the filing of the tentative assessment roll (May 1st each year). The only changes that can be made to the tentative assessment roll are through the formal grievance process with the Board of Assessment Review. After the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) has acted on assessment complaints and ordered changes, the tentative roll is made final (July 1st. each year).

Assessors are interested only in fairly assessing property in their assessing unit. If your assessment seems correct but your tax bill still seems too high, the assessor cannot change that. Complaints to the assessor or the Board of Assessment Review must be about how the property is assessed. Complaints about high taxes should go directly to the taxing jurisdiction, such as the town or village board, school board or county legislature, who set the tax rates. The assessor does not set tax rates. For a link to current tax rates as set by your taxing jurisdictions, Click Here.

What Kind of Property is Assessed?

All real property, commonly known as real estate, is assessed. Real property is defined as land and any permanent structures attached to it. Some examples of real property are houses, office buildings, vacant land, farms, and other commercial structures.

How is Real Property Assessed?

Before assessing any parcel of property, the assessor estimates its market value. Market value is the amount a property would sell for, in an open market, under normal conditions. To estimate values, the assessor must be familiar with all aspects of the local real estate market. New York State law provides that all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value. The Town of Lewiston uses a uniform percentage of 80%. This means that your assessment should closely match what your house would sell for in today's real estate market. To estimate 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:

1. Market approach: The property is compared to others similar to it that have sold recently, using only valid sales where buyer and seller both acted without undue pressure. Most residential property is valued using this approach.

2. Cost approach: Calculate what the property would cost, using today’s labor and material prices, to compare a structure with a similar one. This method is used to value special purpose and utility properties.

3. Income approach: Analyze how much income a property, such as an apartment building or a store, would produce if rented. Operating expenses, insurance, financing terms, and expected income streams are some of the factors used in this method.

Once the assessor estimates the market value of a property, its assessment is calculated. New York State law

The Notification Process

When it becomes necessary to change assessments, all property owners will receive a notice in March which includes:

    - New preliminary assessed value
    - Information on arranging an informal review of your assessment with assessment staff
    - Important dates in the assessment cycle

 

Resources Available

1. Reports: Residential sales and property inventories will be published and available for inspection during our normal office hours.

2. Internet Access: The assessment roll will be on the Internet.

    - Verify property information
    - Review inventory data on an individual property
    - Review current sales information
    - Analyze sales information about similar properties

 

Tips on the Comparison Process

In comparing properties to yours, it is important to remember that location, style, age and size are critical to the comparison process. You should review sales of similar homes in the same general area and of similar size, and make your adjustments from the sale price of that home. Waterfront properties should be compared with other Waterfront properties. If you are comparing other assessments of properties that have not sold, don't forget to check the data and make the necessary adjustments.

Informal Review Process

The Assessor's Office will continue to offer property owners the opportunity to discuss their assessment on an informal basis. If you feel your assessment is incorrect then you must provide the Assessor with reasonable information, based on market sales, that supports your opinion of market value. To make an appointment, please contact our office.

Formal Review Process

The Board of Assessment Review meets the fourth Tuesday of May (Grievance Day) each year to hear complaints on assessments. Written application to the Board of Review must be made on or before Grievance Day on forms prescribed by the New York State Office of Real Property Services.

How To File A Review Of Your Assessment

Important Dates in the Assessment Cycle

March 1st: Taxable Status Date (the deadline for all exemption applications and the completion date for building permits)

May 1st: Tentative Assessment Roll is filed

4th Tuesday in May: Grievance Day (Board of Assessment Review meets to hear all complaints regarding assessments)

July 1st: Final Assessment Roll is filed

January 1st – March 1st: Exemption Application Period

Town & Village of Lewiston  FinalTax Roll can be found on the Niagara County Real Property Tax Service website at the link below:

2016 Final Assessment Roll

2016 Tentative Tax Roll


STAR Exemption

STAR is a statewide real property tax exemption that provides partial relief from school taxes, regardless of age or income.  For more information regarding the STAR program go to  https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm

Enhanced STAR is for those residents who will be 65 years of age or older for 2017 tax year with adjusted gross income (minus taxable amount of total IRA distributions) not exceeding $86,000.  See the following link for eligibility requirements

STAR Eligibility Requirements

If you have had a Basic STAR on your current residence prior to 2015 and are simply changing to the Enhanced STAR please submit the following form along with a copy of your NYS driver's license and 2015 Income Tax Return.  No other tax year can be accepted.

Enhanced STAR Application

The Enhanced STAR can be automatically renewed providing you are filing a NYS Tax return and you sign up for the Income Verification Program by completing the following form:

RP-425-IVP

If you have purchased your property after March 1, 2015 or have never had a STAR Exemption on your property you must register for the STAR Program through the NYS Website at NYS STAR.

THE GOAL OF THE ASSESSOR’S OFFICE IS TO DETERMINE THE FAIR AND EQUITABLE ASSESSMENT FOR YOUR PROPERTY.

If you have any questions or comments, please call the Assessor's Office at 716.754.8213.

lejohnson@townoflewiston.us