The Assessor is the official who estimates the value of real property within a city, town or village's boundaries. The value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills. Elected and appointed assessors must obtain basic certification by New York State within three years of taking office. This requires the successful completion of two assessment administration courses, two appraisal courses, and an elective course. Appointed assessors must complete 24 hours of continuing education every year, and complete two more appraisal or assessment courses within two years of initial certification.
The assessor maintains the assessment roll- the document that contains every property's assessment. To do this, the physical description, inventory, and value estimate of every parcel of real property in the municipality is kept up-to-date. The property inventory is available for inspection by appointment before the filing of the tentative assessment roll. The assessment roll shows assessments and appropriate exemptions. Every year the roll, with preliminary, or tentative, assessments, is made available for public inspection. After the Board of Assessment Review has acted on assessment complaints during Grievance Day and ordered any changes, the tentative assessment roll is made final. 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, gas stations, office buildings, vacant land, motels, shopping centers, factories and restaurants. Before assessing any parcel of property, the assessor estimates its market value. Market value is how much a property would sell for, in an open market, under normal conditions. To estimate market 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. First, property is compared to others similar to it that have been sold recently, using only sales where the buyer and seller acted without undue pressure. This method is called the market approach and is normally used to value residential, vacant, and farm properties. Second is to calculate what it would cost, using today's labor and material pieces, to replace the structure with a similar one. If the structure is not new, the assessor determines how much it has depreciated since it was built. The resulting value is added to an estimate of the market value of the land. This method is used to value special purpose and utilities properties, and is called the cost approach. Third is to analyze how much income a property, like an apartment building, a store, or a factory, will produce if rented. Operating expenses, insurance, maintenance costs, financing terms, and how much money owners expect to make on this type of property are considered. This is the income approach. Assessors with computer systems available to them can estimate values using three approaches more efficiently than with paper, pencil and calculator. Once the assessor estimates the market value of a property, its assessment is calculated. New York State law provides all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value. Everyone shares his or her fair share of taxes as long as every property in a locality is assessed at the same percentage of value.
The following is a summary of some dates and deadlines that pertain to the Assessment Cycle for the City of Elmira:
- June 1st each year
- Taxable Status Date
- Valuation Date
- Exemption Filing Deadline (see Exemptions)
- July 1st each year
- Filing of the Tentative Assessment Roll
- 10 Days prior to Grievance Day (in July)
- Change of Assessment Notices Mailed
- Third Tuesday in July each year
- Grievance Day
- Board of Assessment Review
- After Grievance Day and before August 10th each year
- Notice of Board of Assessment Review Decisions
- August 10th each year
- Final Assessment Roll
- Within 30 days of filing of Final Roll
- Small claims Assessment Review Filing
- Certiorari Filing
Property owners may grieve their assessment before the Board of Assessment Review on Grievance Day every year. The City of Elmira Assessor’s Office receives the grievance forms for City of Elmira property owners. All applications filed by Grievance Day will be reviewed by the Board of Assessment Review. Click here to download the RP-524 form from ORPTS
- An appointment is recommended if you wish to appear before the Board of Assessment Review. Appointments can be made only after grievance forms are filed.
- Five copies of the original signed grievance form and any supporting documentation.
- Appointments are scheduled on a first-come first-served basis. You must have filed your forms to schedule an appointment (appointments are scheduled at 15 minute intervals).
The Board of Assessment Review will respond to your grievance on or before August 10th of each year. If you are unhappy with the decision of the Board of Assessment you have the following options:
- Residential property owners (owner occupied and 3 living units or less) may file with small claims assessment review or certiorari proceeding and have 30 days from August 10th to file.
- Commercial property owners may file for certiorari proceeding and have 30 days from August 10th to file.
If you miss Grievance Day, your next opportunity will be Grievance Day in the following year.
It is our office policy to accept the Grievance Day forms and supporting documentation after July 1 and on or before the third Tuesday in July each year. Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to prove the assessment is incorrect. The Assessor’s Office can not fill out your forms for you or make copies for you.
All Exemptions have a deadline for filing of June 1st of each year in the City of Elmira.
The most appropriate time to file for first time City of Elmira Exemptions would be after January and before the June 1st deadline of each year. The most appropriate time to file Exemption renewals is after receipt of renewal form (usually before the end of March) and before the June 1st deadline each year. More information about exemptions can be found on the New York State Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) website.
The most common Assessment Exemptions within the City of Elmira are as follows:
- Veterans' Exemptions apply to county and city taxes only.
- Veterans will be required to supply discharge papers and a copy of the deed to their property that proves they are the owners.
- The local Veteran's Affair's Office will assisst in the compleation of your Veteran's Exemption Form. Please contact the local Veteran's affairs Office for more information.
- Basic STAR applies only to school taxes. You must own the property and it must be your primary residence.
- The STAR program has changed to a rebate check for NEW homeowners if you purchased your home after May 1, 2014.
- more about the STAR exemption
- The Enhanced STAR Exemption applies only to school taxes. You must be the legal owner of the property and it must be your primary residence.
- The property must be a one, two, or three family residence.
- You must be 65 or older and income-qualified.
- Proof of age, income, and ownership is required.
- You must be the legal owner of the property, and it must be your primary residence.
- You must be 65 or older and be income-qualified.
- Proof of age, income and ownership is required.
- You must renew each year to verify qualifications.
- If you file state or federal income tax forms you must provide a copy. The current total income must be $22,200 or less for the previous year.
- Property owners currently receiving Senior Exemptions will automatically receive a Senior Citizen renewal each year before the end of March that must be filed on or before June 1st.
- Your Senior Citizen renewal and your Enhanced Star renewal are the same form because you automatically qualify for the Enhanced Star Exemption if you receive the Senior Citizen Exemption.
Please remember that the Exemptions are applied to Assessments and the tax rate is applied to taxable assessments to arrive at a tax amount for each taxing unit.
Tax rates are not determined in the Assessors Office.
The Assessor's Office does not have access to tax billing or payment records. Please contact the City Chamberlain's Office at 607-737-5662 for billing and payment questions.
If you need to change the mailing address of your tax bill, please come into the Assessor's Office or call for a change of address form or you can change the mailing address by signed letter or email. We cannot accept address changes by phone.
According to the City of Elmira Code of Ordinances, all rental housing in the City of Elmira must be registered by completing the Rental_registration_form and returning it to the City Code Enforcement Office at 101 W. Second Street, Elmira, NY 14901. After turning in a fully completed registration form, the property is certified to be used as a rental property. See Law Department page for Rental Registration Ordinances.
Questions regarding Rental Property Registration and Certification should be directed to the City Code Enforcement Division at (607) 737-5654.
Changes to your sanitation fee status must be directed to the Assessor's Office. Applications pertaining to the Sanitation Service are available in the City Assessor's Office during normal business hours. Please stop by to ensure that you pick up the proper forms or use the link below for opting out of garbage pickup. Remember to fill out the form completely and have it notarized or there may be a delay in stopping your service.
Forms for the commercial sanitation program are available in the Chamberlain's Office.