Borofsky Vs. Nassau County Board of Assessors

Decision of Supreme Court Hearing Officer

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Summary:

The 40 cases involved a determination of the proper assessment ratio to apply to Small Claims Assessment Review matters for the purposes of equalizing asssessments within Nasssau County, New York.

There is a presumption that the assessment made by the respondents is correct, and that the 40 petitioners had the burden of overcoming or rebutting such presumption by submission of "substantial evidence" to the contrary.

The petitioners' expert had relied on "sales trending or predictions"(a method used in Florida), while the respondents' experts relied on "actual sales without sales trending or predictions."

The Court reasoned that the Real Property Tax Law referred to "actual sales", and that "actual" did not mean "conjecture, hypothetical, theoretical, putative, reputed, suppositions."

The Court asserted that "(I)f the Legislature had intended to allow sales trending, predictions or estimates of sales, it would have said so", and the Court concluded that the "method using actual sales without predictions has greater validity than the method using predictions, estimates and hypotheticls."

The Court ruled that the respondents had proved their entitlement to the "legal presumption" that their assessment is correct.

The Court observed that 5% of the SCAR Hearing Officers (including two Court Referees) utilized the petitioners' method, and that 95% of the Hearing Officers utilized the respondents' method.

The Court opined that it is obvious that such divergent results arising out of the same exact evidence is a mockery of the statutory scheme of achieving uniformity, equality and fairmess in property assessments. The Legislature, Counsel to the Assessor and the Practicing Bar, were urged to establish a Task Force to study this unequal and unfair phenomenon and to come up with reforms to eliminate this disparity in the administration of justice, so as to assure that the same true substantial justice is done to the parties in all SCAR cases.

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Reference Info:Decision | State, 2nd Circuit, New York | United States


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ira Raab, Chair, Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, City of West Palm Beach, Florida | Attorney Advertising

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Chair, Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, City of West Palm Beach, Florida on:

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