Long Islanders know the sting when their annual property tax bill comes due. With rates of over 2%, Long Island counties have some of the highest property taxes in the nation!
It’s true. On average, people on Long Island fork over about $11,000 on their property taxes.
High property taxes don’t have to be a life sentence if you live on Long Island. When you understand why Long Island property taxes are high, how they are calculated, and local tax relief programs, you will see many options available to lower your property tax bill.
Whether you are already a homeowner on Long Island or thinking about moving here, keep reading! We will give you the skinny on Long Island property taxes and how you can keep your bill as low as possible.
Long Island Property Taxes
Why are Long Island property taxes so high? Let’s take a look behind-the-scenes.
County, not states or the federal government, sets property tax rates. This means that the county you buy a house in will ultimately decide how much you pay in taxes.
The two counties on Long Island are Nassau County and Suffolk County. In Nassau County, your property taxes will be approximately 2.11% of your home’s assessed fair market value. The median home value in Nassau County is $460,700, so the median annual property tax payment comes out to about $10,000.
Suffolk County is a smidge cheaper. The tax rate is higher, at 2.37%, but the median home value is lower at $386,800. That means the median annual property tax payment is $9,157.
Suffolk County Property Taxes
- Tax Rate – 2.37%
- Median Home Value – $386,800
- Median Annual Property Tax Payment – $9,157
Nassau County Property Taxes
- Tax Rate – 2.11%
- Median Home Value – $460,700
- Median Annual Property Tax Payment – $10,000
How do the counties come up with these tax rates? To ensure you’re paying a fair rate, it helps to understand how your county determines what you owe in property taxes.
How Are Long Island Property Taxes Calculated?
Nassau County and Suffolk County use taxing jurisdictions to determine Long Island property tax rates.
Each jurisdiction is different based on geographic size, population, school districts, library districts, and other special districts. Each year, the county examines the assessment roll prepared by the Department of Assessment for that county. In layman’s terms, an assessment is a percentage of your home value used for tax purposes.
Your county assessor will evaluate your home each year to determine the assessed value.
The County sets a budget that determines the tax levy or the amount of money that needs to be raised by property taxes by using assessment numbers.
The County determines what you pay based on the assessed value of your home. Therefore, your tax liability is a certain percentage of the assessed value.
Your assessment value will represent a percentage of the combined assessed value of all the properties in your taxing jurisdiction. Your county calculates your tax bill by multiplying the tax rate by the assessed value.
Why Are Long Island Property Taxes So High?
Nassau and Suffolk counties have some of the highest property taxes in New York.
Why is that?
Many factors make Long Island unique and contribute to high property taxes. One is that property values, in general, are higher on Long Island than in most parts of the country. The median home value on Long Island is $500,000, so Long Islanders naturally have higher property assessment rates.
Long Island also has a unique system in which property value has less bearing on the homeowner’s tax burden. Furthermore, Long Islanders pay higher-than-average amounts to schools, public employees, and public services.
Tips to Lower Your Long Island Property Taxes
You may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to lower your property taxes. Good news — there is! You have various options, from applying for tax deductions, filing an appeal, or even moving to a nearby community with lower tax rates.
Let’s explore how you can lower your Long Island property tax bill.
Limit Home Improvement Projects
The higher your home value, the higher your property taxes. If you want to curb your property taxes, don’t go overboard on home improvements. If you do have your eye on a home project, wait to do it until after your county assessment.
Look for Mistakes in Your Tax Bill
It may help to examine your property tax bill for errors driving up your rate. You can obtain a copy of your bill from your county tax assessor’s office.
Make sure all your property details are correct. For example, look closely at the square footage of your home, the total size of the lot, and other improvements to the land.
If you find any issues, make an appointment with your county assessor. They may be willing to make corrections.
Research Home Values in Your Neighborhood
Check Long Island property records on recently sold homes in your neighborhood to discover up-to-date home values.
If you live in Nassau County, you can review your property records on the Department of Assessment website.
Look at homes similar to yours in square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, and overall condition. Do you notice anything that seems off?
For an even better assessment of home values in your neighborhood, reach out to a Long Island real estate agent and ask for a comparative market analysis.
Take your findings to your county assessor. You never know — they may have a good reason for your home’s assessed value. If not, you have a good chance of reducing your assessed value.
Order an Appraisal
If you suspect your home value determined by your county assessor is incorrect, then consider ordering an independent appraisal.
If the appraiser says your home value is lower, you can take your findings to your county assessor and likely have your taxable value lowered. Of course, if you disagree with your appraiser’s findings, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.
While an appraisal may set you back a few hundred dollars, you could save thousands yearly on your property taxes.
Find Out if You Qualify for Tax Exemptions
There are all kinds of tax exemption and relief programs available in the state of New York. Even though they won’t eliminate your tax burden completely, it’s worth finding out if you qualify because you could save thousands each year. Here are five tax exemption programs in New York.
Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption
New Yorkers over the age of 65 can apply for this exemption. It works by reducing the assessed value of the senior’s home by up to 50%, based on income eligibility and other requirements.
Veterans Property Tax Exemption
New Yorkers who served in the United States Military, are an unmarried surviving spouse of a service member, or are another eligible relative of a service member may qualify for the Veterans Property Tax Exemption.
Tax exemptions in Nassau County are based on the nature of the veteran’s service during their time in the military. In addition, they must have had an honorable discharge.
Persons with Disabilities Property Tax Exemption
People with disabilities may be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of their assessed property value. They must show certain documents proving their disability, meet income guidelines, and specific property ownership requirements. There is a sliding scale option for individuals with income exceeding eligibility requirements.
Agricultural Properties Property Tax Exemption
There are tax exemptions available for agricultural properties. The New York state government enacted the New York Agricultural Districts Law in 1971 to promote the availability of farmland in New York. For this reason, eligibility is generally based on the gross sales of agricultural products.
You may also be eligible for other tax credits and exemptions if you own farmland.
The School Tax Relief Program (S.T.A.R.)
Homeowners enrolled in the STAR program receive a check from the Tax Department to help them pay their school taxes. To be eligible, you must own your home, and it must be your primary residence. In addition, the combined household income must be $500,000 or less.
Homeowners over age 65 can apply for “Enhanced STAR.”
File a Grievance
You can file a grievance at your county assessor’s office to change the assessed valuation of your home. However, this will require a lawyer and can get expensive quickly, so it should be your last resort. You will provide details about the condition of your home to the Board of Assessment Review (BAR), and the board will decide whether or not to lower the assessed value of your home.
Factor in Your Property Taxes When Choosing a Home
Paying lower property taxes starts with your home value. If you plan to buy a home on Long Island, keep your property taxes in mind while house hunting. The more expensive the house, the higher your property taxes will be.
If you buy a house at the middle or lower end of your price range, your property taxes will be less than if you purchased something at the top of your budget.
Move to a Nearby Community With Lower Taxes
If your property taxes are squeezing your finances, moving to a nearby town or neighborhood with a lower tax rate could equal significant savings.
Since counties, not cities, set property tax rates, the county you live in will be the most significant determining factor in your property taxes. One way to discover which areas have lower tax rates is by looking at school districts.
The following section lists the ten Long Island school districts with the lowest tax levies.
Long Island School Districts With Low Tax Rates
Counties set property taxes, so how do you learn about Long Island property taxes by town? One way to do so is by looking at the school districts.
School districts play a significant role in property taxes on Long Island. More than 60% of property taxes collected on Long Island are distributed among the 125 school districts, so living in a school district with a lower tax levy could save you big time on your property taxes.
Below are the ten Long Island school districts with the lowest school district tax levies.
10. Huntington School District
Huntington School District has one of the lower tax levies on Long Island, with a total of $112,816,249 for the 2021-22 school year. It was a modest increase over the previous year at 2.19%.
The district serves students in the Town of Huntington, one of ten towns on Long Island. Huntington is in Suffolk County and has just over 200,000 people. It’s known for its shopping, dining, museums, and beautiful parks, including Caumsett State Park.
9. Jericho School District
The Jericho School District’s tax levy dips quite a bit compared to Huntington’s at $109,889,842 for the 2021-22 school year. It also had a relatively low increase over the previous school year: 1.95%
The district serves students in Jericho, Westbury, Old Westbury, Brookville, and Muttontown. Jericho is a hamlet in Nassau County with about 14,000 people and many family-friendly activities.
The NYCB Theater at Westbury and the Meadow Brook Country Club are big draws to the area.
8. Hicksville School District
Hicksville is a hamlet of about 42,000 people located within the Town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County. Hicksville is a family-friendly community famous for its many Indian restaurants. It’s also the hometown of Billy Joel.
The Hicksville School District tax levy for the 2021-22 school year was $107,484,664. The increase over the previous school years was 2.89%.
7. Riverhead School District
The Riverhead school district had a low projected tax levy for the 2021-22 school year at $106,852,159. This represents an increase of 2.21% over the previous year, which is moderate compared to other Long Island school districts.
Riverhead is on the North Shore of Long Island and has a population of approximately 36,000. It is the agricultural center of Long Island because it contains nearly two-thirds of its farmland.
Visitors travel to Riverhead for its four beautiful beaches, orchards, golf courses, vineyards, and many other attractions.
6. Hewlett-Woodmere School District
Hewlett-Woodmere’s school district tax levy is slightly less than Riverhead’s at $106,273,125 for the 2021-22 school year. This was a jump of 2.89% over the previous school year. Hewlett-Woodmere is located in the southwestern part of Nassau County.
The district comprises the Five Towns or “The Hewletts” and the community of Woodmere. The area is home to family-friendly activities, including whale and seal watching.
5. Long Beach School District
The Long Beach school district’s tax levy for the 2021-22 school year is $105,973,903, with a relatively low increase of 1.90% over the previous school year.
Nicknamed “The City by the Sea,” Long Beach is one of the major tourism hubs on Long Island and was even named Best East Coast Beach Town for a Summer Getaway by Time Out Magazine. One of Long Beach’s most popular attractions is the Long Beach Boardwalk.
4. William Floyd School District
The William Floyd School District serves the southernmost part of the Town of Brookhaven and the communities of Shirley, Mastic, Mastic Beach, and Moriches. It is one of the larger school districts on Long Island. The district’s tax levy for the 2021-22 school year was $104,902,049 — a substantial 3.49% jump over the previous year.
The Town of Brookhaven is in Suffolk County and has a population of 485,773. It’s an area rich in early American history. Today, it is most well known for being the home of two world-class research centers: Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
3. Lindenhurst School District
Lindenhurst School District’s tax levy for the 2021-22 school year was slightly less than William Floyd’s at $104,833,668. The increase over the previous school year was moderate at 2.66%
Lindenhurst is a village in Suffolk County with a population of about 26,885. It sits on the southern shore of the more populous city of Babylon (population 218,223).
Lindenhurst and Babylon offer outdoor attractions, including beautiful beaches, state parks, and island excursions.
2. Garden City School District
The Garden City School District brings us into the top five for lowest school district tax levies on Long Island. Garden City had a tax levy of $104,552,167 for the 2021-22 school district. The increase over the previous year was low, at just 1.7%.
Garden City is a village in southwestern Nassau County with a population of about 23,000. A large portion of the village is located within the Town of Hempstead, which has a population of 793,409. If Hempstead were incorporated as a city, it would be the second-largest city in the state of New York and the 18th largest in the United States.
Garden City is a popular destination thanks to the beautiful Garden City Community Park, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, the Long Island Children’s Museum, and a plethora of quaint bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.
1. Herricks School District
Herricks School District lies within the Greater New Hyde Park area of Long Island in western Nassau County. It serves the communities of Herricks, Garden City Park, Manhasset Hills, Searington, North Hills, Williston Park, and Albertson.
The district’s tax levy is low at $100,937,081. The levy increased moderately over the previous year at 2.35%.
The New Hyde Park area is a hidden gem. It was the lifelong home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and features several historical sites related to the 32nd president and many other attractions.
The Three Lowest School District Tax Levies on Long Island
After Herricks, there are three more school districts with lower tax levies. Shelter Island, Amagansett, and Sagaponack have tax levies below $10 million, mainly due to their small size. They are located in wealthy, exclusive areas.
Shelter Island is an island community with a population of just over 3,000 people and a median home value of $1.9 million. It’s one of the oldest parts of the United States, as it was part of the Plymouth Company land grant in 1620.
Amagansett is part of the Town of East Hampton, where the median home value exceeds $4 million. Sagaponack is a village in the Town of South Hampton where the median home value exceeds $7 million. The Sagaponack school district serves 16 students, grades K-3, with an annual tax levy of $1,316,887.
While the school tax levy is lower, the high cost of living ultimately results in high property taxes. So, as you can see, school district tax levies can signal lower property taxes, but not always.
Suppose you’re planning to buy real estate on Long Island. Working with a real estate professional with deep knowledge of Long Island communities, home values, school districts, and other factors that affect property taxes is essential.
Dean Miller Real Estate: Your Long Island Real Estate Expert
The Dean Miller Real Estate Team has experience in the Long Island market stretching back 20 years. We specialize in Nassau County and help real estate buyers, sellers, and investors in Garden City, Wantagh, Bellmore, Levittown, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Merrick, Seaford, and beyond.
Dean Miller, Real Estate professionals, are well-versed in Long Island property taxes. If you need assistance understanding your home value, understanding tax exemptions, need help locating an appraiser, or something else, we are happy to help you!
Reducing your Long Island property taxes begins with the home buying process. You can significantly reduce your property taxes by buying in a community with a lower property tax burden. We can help you determine the best community for you based on your needs for your home, lifestyle, and budget.
Begin the Home Buying Process
Are you planning to buy real estate on Long Island? Congratulations! Long Island property values have been rising and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
You will soon be enjoying a rapidly growing investment when you buy on Long Island.
Ready to get started? Get in touch with Dean Miller Real Estate Team today. Our talented real estate professionals can’t wait to help you find your dream home!