Assessor Kandace S. Wittmeyer - SCAA
1600 Bowen Rd. Elma, NY 14059
Phone: 716.652.3260 ext. 5
E-mail Deputy Assessor
Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8:00am - 4:00pm
Doreen Schafer - Deputy of Assessments & Taxes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Effective May 1st of 2016, a new law was passed as it relates to how the Basic and Enhanced STAR exemptions are applied for and deilvered to new property owners. If your property sale/transfer took place after the March 1st of 2015, you will be part of this new process.
In the past, you would register with the local Assessor's office. Then new process is to register with, and is handled by, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The new process is recapped below:
SENIOR CITIZEN EXEMPTIONS (In addtion to the Enhanced Star)
In order to qualify for the exemption, the following requirements must be met:
What to bring with you when applying for partial tax exemption real property of aged persons.
IF YOU ARE FILING FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU MUST ALSO BRING PROOF OF AGE AND INCOME.