BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- The first two weeks of June for Bobbie Anne Flower-Cox, Esq. are akin to early April for accountants. While number crunchers deal with tax filing deadlines, Flower-Cox sorts through documents for property owners seeking to appeal property taxes.
In most Westchester County towns, property owners who feel they have been overcharged on taxes can appeal from June 1-16. The process can take 4-6 months for residential grievances to go through before a decision is rendered. But the appeal has to be filed before June 16, and Flower-Cox and her team have the task of filing for their clients before that June 16th deadline.
“I’ve had people say, 'I’ve had your number for four or five months,'’’ Flower-Cox said. “It’s funny how a lot of people wait until the last minute. I’ll have people contact me on June 17 and ask ‘Did I miss the deadline?’ It ends on June 16 and if you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait a whole year. And unlike the IRS, towns don’t give extensions.”
Flower-Cox has been grieving taxes for property owners for nearly two decades. She begins by offering a complimentary analysis. “It’s to our benefit to make sure that there’s a strong case,’’ Flower-Cox said. “We don’t want to end up bringing frivolous actions.”
Flower-Cox takes over from there. Her team will go before the Board of Assessment review, provide more information, make court appearances and deal with town assessors. “Once they sign the paperwork, the property owners don’t have to worry about anything,’’ Flower-Cox said.
Flower-Cox strives to settle the tax dispute with the town. If not, her team will represent the property owner at trial. She earns money only if she’s able to reduce the tax.
“That’s why we do a preliminary analysis,’’ said Flower-Cox, who can complete most preliminary analyses in 24 hours or less. “We want to make sure there’s a case and we’re not spinning our wheels.”
Because she takes the time to do preliminary work, Flower-Cox said she has nearly a 100 percent success rate in reducing a property owner’s tax burden. The reduction generally falls between 10 and 25 percent, which is the highest figure technically allowed by New York State law. Flower-Cox said in rare instances of egregious over assessment, her clients have received a 40 percent reduction.
She also offered her thoughts on "5 Secrets To Lowering Property Taxes" in a Daily Voice story last year.
Flower-Cox works in Putnam and Rockland Counties as well, and she said it’s important to have a professional prepare any grievance because of the likelihood of a bigger reduction.
“I tell people it’s worth giving a call and talking to us,’’ she said. “There are occasions a homeowner will put the paperwork in themselves. I had a homeowner who tried to do it himself and he was offered a $1,000 reduction. I told him I was pretty sure I could get more. He hired me and I got him a $6,000 reduction. You can do it on your own, but it’s to your benefit to give us a call. I don’t do my own income taxes. This is the same idea.”
Flower-Cox said grievances also have to be filed in the correct municipality. “In Port Chester for instance, you have to go through the town of Rye,’’ she said. “You have to be careful about where your grieving.”
Flower-Cox’s father started Flower Property Tax Consultants in Bronxville and has been grieving taxes for property owners since 1962. She has been practicing law for more than 15 years.
She said property owners grieve taxes because they feel as if they are being overcharged, are on a fixed income or they want to make their property more marketable for sale.
For more information, visit www.CoxLawyers.com or contact Flower-Cox at 914-779-7762 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.