Town Assessor

Assessor Kandace S. Wittmeyer - SCAA
1600 Bowen Rd. Elma, NY 14059
Phone: 716.652.3260 ext. 5
Fax: 716.652.3560

E-mail Assessor
E-mail Deputy Assessor

Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8:00am - 4:00pm

Doreen Schafer - Deputy of Assessments & Taxes

2016 Final Assessment Roll

2015 Final Assessment Roll

2014 Final Assessment Roll

Final Assessment Roll (PDF)
Understanding the Assessment
Process Assessment Calendar

*** DEADLINE FOR ALL EXEMPTIONS IS MARCH 1st***

Mission Statement

The Town of Elma Assessor's Office is responsible for creating fair and equitable assessments yearly. We administer real property tax exemptions as provided by the New York State Real Property Tax Law and locally adopted laws. We continually educate the general public about Real Property Assessment Administration. We strive to expand our professional abilities through Continuing Education annually.


Description of 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 assessment 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 buildings, vacant land, shopping centers, apartment buildings, and restaurants.


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 purposes and utility properties.

Income approach - analyze how much income a property, like an apartment building, a store or 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 assessment 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 the same percentage of value.


Who Do I Contact With My Questions?

The assessor is continually communicating with the public, answering questions, and dealing with concerns raised by taxpayers. Anyone can examine the assessment roll and property records at any time.

It is up to individual property owners to monitor their own assessments. Taxpayers who feel they are not being fairly assessed should meet with the assessor before the tentative assessment roll is established. In an informal setting the assessor can explain how the assessment was determined and rationale behind it.

Assessors are interested only in fairly assessing property in their assessing unit. If your assessment is correct and your tax bill still seems too high, the assessor cannot change that. Complaints to the assessor must be about how property is assessed.

Informal meetings with assessors to resolve assessment questions about the next assessment roll can take place throughout the year. If after speaking to your assessor you still feel you are unfairly assessed, please refer to the booklet, "What To Do If You Disagree With Your Assessment". It describes how to prepare and file a complaint with the Board of Assessment Review for an assessment reduction and indicates the time of year it can be done.

To learn more about the assessment process, please call the assessor at 716-652-3260 ext. 14 or 15.


STAR Eligibility

Eligible types of property

  • houses, condominiums, cooperative apartments, manufactured homes, and farm houses
  • mixed-use properties, including apartment buildings (but only the owner-occupied portion)

Eligible homeowners 

 

Basic STAR

Enhanced STAR

Residency

You must own your home and it must be your primary residence.*

Age

No age restriction

65 or older 

For jointly owned property, only one spouse or sibling must be at least 65 by December 31 of the year when the exemption will begin.

Income**

$500,000 or less

The income limit applies to the combined incomes of only the owners and owners' spouses who reside at the property.

$81,900 or less.

The income limit applies to all owners, and any owner's spouse who resides at the property.

Determining your primary residence

Your local assessor considers many factors to determine whether a property is your primary residence, like voting, vehicle registrations, and length of time spent each year on the property. They may ask you to provide proof of residency:

  • with your STAR application
  • after granting the exemption, to verify that it remains your primary residence

** Income eligibility

Eligibility in 2014 is based on income information from the 2012 tax year. Income means federal "adjusted gross income" minus the "taxable amount" of total distributions from individual retirement accounts or individual retirement annuities (IRA's).

Application must be filed at the Elma Assessor's office by March 1st of current year. This is a hard deadline prescribed by law.

The following is required for 1st time filing this year

  1. Application
  2. Federal income tax, page 1 & 2
  3. Social Security form 1099
  4. Driver's license

The following is required for annual renewal

  1. Application
  2. Federal income tax, Page 1 & 2

SENIOR CITIZEN EXEMPTIONS (In addtion to the Enhanced Star)

In order to qualify for the exemption, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The owner, or if the residence is owned by more than one person, all of the owners (except in the case of a spouse), must be 65 years of age or older as of December 31, in the year of filing.

    When the property is owned jointly by husband and wife, only one spouse is required to be 65 years of age or older.
  2. Total Household Income Cannot exceed $32,400.
  3. The property must be used exclusively for residential purposes and must be occupied in whole or part by the owner(s) and must be their legal residence.
  4. Title to the property must be vested in the owner of the property prior to the date of application. Property must be owned at least one year prior to May 1st in any given year.
  5. The law specifies that income includes: Social Security and Retirement Benefits, Interest, Dividends, Net Rental Income, Salary of earnings and Net Income if self-employed. The income reported is for a twelve (12) month period., for which the owner(s) filed a Federal Income Tax Return. Or, if no such return is filed, the income for the calendar year preceding the date of filing. Income must include the income of both husband and wife or all property owners.

What to bring with you when applying for partial tax exemption real property of aged persons.
  1. NOTICE - You must bring your SOCIAL SECURITY 1099 FORM with you that you received early in January. THIS IS A MUST.
  2. A copy of your Income Tax Form, if one was filed, signed by the person making out the form.
  3. Salary, wages, bonuses, total dividends, gains from sales or exchanges and all taxable annuity payments.
  4. ALL BANK INTEREST FORMS 1099-INT that were mailed to you in January. All interest on Non-Taxable State and Local Bonds and interest only on IRA accounts (not the original amount) must also be included.
  5. The total amount received from Government or Private Retirement Pension Plans.
  6. Rentals, business and professional (including amounts claimed as depreciation for income tax purposes), net earnings from farming.
  7. Unemployment Insurance Payments, Disability Payments, Workmen's Compensation Payments.
  8. Alimony or support money and any other income.


IF YOU ARE FILING FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU MUST ALSO BRING PROOF OF AGE AND INCOME.

http://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/assess/valuation/agindex.htm

http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/disable.pdf

http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/veterans.pdf