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Selective assessing vs fair assessing

The Real Property Tax Law (see Sections 301 and 305) requires assessors to assess all real property at a uniform percentage of market value each year. (Also see Fair assessments: A guide for property owners.)

Not surprisingly, some taxpayers may believe that they have been selectively reassessed. Selective reassessment is characterized by a municipality that is not doing a municipal-wide reassessment, yet specific parcels, various portions of an assessing unit, or certain types of property are reassessed without regard to the relative uniformity of assessments within the municipality. (For further explanation see attached 10 Op.Counsel SBRPS No.60.)

When updating assessments, an assessor looks at all of the parcels within a community and maintains all of the assessments at market value (or a uniform percentage thereof) each year. In such a case, assessments may:

  • remain the same
  • be adjusted through the use of market trends,
  • or be adjusted based on a physical reappraisal.

Some taxpayers may question why they have been included in either of the two latter categories. Again, the assessor makes this determination based upon a systematic analysis of the entire municipality. In either case, the assessor should be able to provide evidence of the systematic analysis that has been undertaken with a rationale for the decision to trend or reappraise. Examples of such evidence might be: sales-ratio studies, real estate market analyses, computer-assisted mass appraisal results, analyses regarding coefficients of dispersion (CODs), price related differentials (PRDs) and/or multiple regression.

The key aspect of the systematic analysis is that it included all of the parcels in the municipality.