Newsday / News12 Special Report

Separate & Unequal

An 18-month Newsday investigation dug deep into millions of Nassau property records to reveal stark differences in tax bills and an assessment system weighted against the middle class and poor.

Taxes for this Syosset home have gone up

$0
2011201220132014201520162017

Meanwhile, taxes for this home next door went down

$0
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Sound unusual? It’s not.

61% of Nassau property owners have appealed their property taxes and have typically seen decreases or modest increases.

While 39%have not challenged their taxes and have typically seen their tax bills soar.

Among those with tax bill cuts
were nearly 11,000 properties
the county valued at $1 MILLION+

The burden shifted onto others including more than 6,400 middle-or-low income senior and disabled homes with tax bill increases of $2,400 OR MORE.

Homeowners in minority communities, who tend to file fewer challenges, are now assessed at a level 17% higher than properties elsewhere.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

The county, schools, towns and other governments need to collect enough money to fund their budgets.

One way they do this is by collecting property taxes.

Nassau officials have settled nearly 700,000 assessment challenges since 2010.

This saved challengers an estimated $1.7 billion in taxes.

But to balance their budgets, governments had to raise tax rates, shifting the burden onto those who didn’t grieve.

Tax bills of the typical property owner who appealed went up just $466, while the bills of those who didn’t increased $2,748.

Grievances & Bills

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

% of properties that appealed

49.5%

CHANGE IN MEDIAN FOR CHALLENGERS

$329

CHANGE IN MEDIAN FOR THOSE WHO DIDN’T

$1855

And nearly half of the estimated savings of $789 MILLION went to owners of
$1 million+ properties.

Savings breakdown

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Top 25% Home Value

54M

3rd 25%

14M

2nd 25%

9M

Bottom 25%

5M

HOW DID THIS AFFECT YOU?

Read the Full Story

Reporter: Matt Clark Design: Anthony Carrozzo, Matthew Cassella Development: Jon Ingoglia Photos: Thomas A. Ferrara, Chuck Fadely Production: Tara Conry