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Rebecca Baker,  Assessor

About Your Assessment

Primary Functions of the Assessor's Office

  1. To assess all real property in the Town of Lancaster at a uniform percentage of value, so as to ensure the fair and equitable spread of the tax burden.
  2. Accept and process real property tax exemptions according to NYS Real Property Tax Law.
  3. Make the assessment information, including challenge / grievance process available to property owners in a fair, open, accessible and lawful manner.
  4. Collection, review, recording and valuing real property information from building permits, property sales, field review and property inspections. 



Duties of the Assessor

The assessor is the official who estimates the value of real property within the Town's boundaries.  This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills.

The assessor maintains the assessment roll - the document that contains every property's assessment.  To do this, the physical description, or inventory and value estimate of every parcel of real estate 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 (BAR) has acted on assessments complaints and ordered any changes, the tentative roll is made final.

What Kind of Property is Assessed ?

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 building, vacant land, shopping centers, apartment building and apartments.

How is Real Property Assessed ?

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:

  • Market Approach - The property is compared to others similar to it that have sold recently, using only sales where the buyer and seller both acted without undue pressure.
  • Cost Approach - Calculate what the property would cost, using today's labor and material prices, to replace the structure with a similar one.  This method is used to value special purpose and utility properties.

  • Income Approach - Analyze how much income 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.

Once the assessor estimates the market value of a property, its assessments is calculated. New York State law provides that all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value.  Everyone pays his or her fair share of taxes as long as every property in a locality is assessed at he same percentage of value.

How To File For An Informal Assessment Review

As part of the ongoing Annual Reassessment Program in the Town of Lancaster, the Assessor's office will be reviewing and analyzing the assessments of each property in the Town.  According to the Real Property Tax Law, all property assessments must be valued at the same uniform percentage.  The Town of Lancaster assessments are at a uniform percentage of 100% of market value. 

The Process

Beginning in April, property owners whose assessments have changed will receive a change of assessment notice.  These notices will also include any assessment changes due to building permit work completed as of March 1. 

Informal Review Applications are accepted between January 1 to March 30. The information submitted will be reviewed and a response mailed to you at the beginning of May.

The Assessor's Office will continue to offer property owners an Informal Review Process.  If you feel your assessment is incorrect then you must provide the Assessor with reasonable information, based on market sales, that supports your opinion of market value.

In comparing similar sales, it is important to remember that location, style, age and size are critical to the comparison process.  For example:  if you purchased your home for $200,000 on a particular street or neighborhood DO NOT look for homes that sell for $150,000 in other neighborhoods or compare a 5 year old house with a 50 year old house.  BE REALISTIC AND HONEST.

It is up to you to demonstrate that your property is not assessed at full market value. Your property should be assessed at 100% of its full market value.

If you feel that your property should warrant an interior inspection, please call (716) 683-1311.  Appointments for interior inspections only will be schedule between March 1st and April 15th.

Please note that a valuation date set by law is July 1 of the PREVIOUS YEAR so keep that in mind when you are looking at sale dates.

Property owners not satisfied with the Informal Review decision may file a formal grievance with the Board of Assessment Review.  Details on how to file will be included in the determination notice.



To learn more about the assessment process, exemptions, and to download the required forms, please go to the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services website or call the Assessor's office at (716) 683-1311.




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