While Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY have many similarities, one stark difference between the two areas is the way that property taxes are calculated. If you’re considering purchasing a home in Fairfield or Westchester County, it’s important to understand how the property taxes work, as they are a significant factor in calculating your monthly mortgage payment.
Several factors can influence property taxes in a town. Firstly, the assessed value of a property plays a crucial role. This value is typically determined by local assessors who evaluate factors such as the property's size, location, amenities, and overall condition. Higher assessed values generally lead to higher tax bills.
Additionally, local government budgets and spending priorities impact property taxes. If a town requires additional revenue to fund public services like schools, infrastructure, or emergency services, property taxes may be raised to meet these needs. In general, towns with highly regarded school districts and better amenities will have higher property taxes.
Finally, changes in the real estate market and economic conditions can impact property taxes. If property values rise or fall due to market trends, tax assessments may be adjusted accordingly.
Different jurisdictions may have varying tax rates, exemptions, or assessment methods, leading to different tax burdens for property owners. This is particularly true for Westchester County and Fairfield County, who have dissimilar taxing methods despite their proximity. So let’s learn a little bit more about CT v. NY property taxes.
Real Estate Taxes in Westchester County, NY
Property taxes in Westchester County, NY are assessed through a comprehensive process that takes into account various factors to determine the fair and equitable value of each property. The assessment is carried out by the local government's Assessor's Office, responsible for evaluating properties within the county boundaries. This process determines the property's assessed value, which is then used as the basis for calculating the property tax amount owed by the owner. It is important to note that property tax rates may vary across different municipalities within Westchester County, adding another layer of complexity to the assessment process. Here are a few things to understand about Westchester property taxes.
Assessment Ratio: An assessment ratio is the relationship between the assessed value of a property and its market value. In Westchester County, the Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR) represents the percentage of a property's market value that is used for calculating property taxes. For example, if the residential assessment ratio is 80%, and a property's market value is $500,000, the assessed value for tax purposes would be $500,000 * 0.80 = $400,000. This assessed value is then multiplied by the local property tax rate to determine the amount of property taxes owed. Some towns in Westchester are assessed at a ratio, while others are assessed at 100% of market value.
Assessed Value x Tax Rate = Property Taxes
Changes in Assessment: Typically towns adjust assessments in June of each year and any adjustment to the assessment would affect taxes for the following tax year. If a home is in a town that is assessed at 100%, then the sale price will affect the assessment and therefore the future taxes. For towns that are assessed at a ratio, sale price will not affect the assessment. But in any case, any improvements made to the property and filed with the town could increase the property’s value and therefore be subject to an increase in taxes the following year.
Tax Rates: Property tax rates in Westchester County vary depending on the municipality in which the property is located and are layered with town/county, village, school and special district taxes. The local government and school districts set these tax rates to generate the necessary revenue to meet their budgetary requirements. Each home will have a different mix of these depending on the PO, school district and whether or not it is within a village or special district. So it is best to look at each home individually. In general, school taxes are going to account for the majority of your taxes and anything "within a village" will have a slightly higher tax rate. If you would like to learn more about Westchester taxes by town, visit this Westchester County site.
Property Tax Exemptions: Westchester County, like many other places, offers various property tax exemptions to certain property owners. These exemptions may apply to veterans, senior citizens, low-income individuals, and properties used for certain charitable, religious, or educational purposes. Property owners who qualify for these exemptions can benefit from a reduction in their property tax burden.
STAR Credit: Eligible NYS homeowners can also enroll in the School Tax Relief (STAR) program. Eligibility is determined by the following conditions: you own your home, it's your primary residence and the combined income of the owners (and any spouse) is $500,000 or less (based on federal or state income tax return information from the previous tax year). Each town has a different STAR credit amount which can be verified with the town. Register once upon becoming a homeowner in Westchester County and you will receive your annual STAR credit check each year in the mail, as long as you remain eligible.
Real Estate Taxes in Connecticut
Connecticut property taxes are levied at the local level by municipalities, such as towns and cities. Here's a general overview of how real estate taxes work in Connecticut:
Mill Rate: Real estate taxes in Connecticut are calculated based on a mill rate. A mill rate is the amount of tax payable per dollar of a property's assessed value. It is expressed as a per thousand value. For example, a mill rate of 20 mills means you would pay $20 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value. If you’re interested in learning about Connecticut property taxes by town, check out the list of mill rates in this article.
Assessment: The local municipality determines the assessed value of each property within its jurisdiction. The assessed value is an estimate of the property's market value, and it serves as the basis for calculating property taxes. Assessments are typically conducted periodically, but the frequency varies by municipality.
How much is property tax in CT?
To calculate your real estate tax, multiply the assessed value of your property by the mill rate and divide by 1,000. For example, if your property has an assessed value of $300,000 and the mill rate is 20, the calculation would be (300,000 * 20) / 1,000 = $6,000 in annual property taxes.
Tax Collection: Connecticut property taxes are typically billed twice a year, but the specific schedule may vary by municipality. The tax bills include the total annual tax amount, divided into two installments. Payment due dates are specified on the bills, and penalties may be applied for late payments.
Revaluation: Revaluation is the process of reassessing properties to determine their current market values. It ensures that property taxes remain fair and equitable over time. Revaluation occurs every five years in Connecticut and may result in changes to assessed values, which can impact the amount of property tax you owe.
As you can see, taxes vary greatly between Fairfield County and Westchester County. Since annual property taxes play such a significant role in determining your monthly mortgage payment, it's important to gather as much information on the current tax amount and any potential increases when considering a property. If you’re looking for some tax-friendly towns, reach out to us to discuss your options.