Effective representation for municipalities, Businesses and individuals

SCHOPF LAW, PLLC

Attorney in Clifton Park Center, New York. Conveniently located off Exit 9 of the Northway. Friendly and approachable.

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Schopf Law, PLLC represents municipalities in New York State in Article 7 Real Property Tax Law assessment review proceedings (also known as Tax Certiorari proceedings). I have the experience of defending towns and cities located throughout the Capital Region of New York State in these proceedings. I have defended, settled and tried cases involving vacant land, retail, commercial, manufacturing plants, shopping centers, utility properties, and specialized retail such as drug stores or “big box” type retail.I  have represented municipalities as special counsel on a diverse range of real property tax issues. My experience covers SCAR hearings, general legal advice to assessors and BOAR officials, RPTL Article 7 tax valuation proceedings and tax exemption cases including appeals of adverse decisions.  


New York’s real property tax laws are complex and requirement to defend the municipal tax base from aggressive and litigious petitioners is necessary every tax year. I have the proven real world and courtroom experience to defend municipal assessments even when these assessments are based upon complex valuation theories or unique commercial and/ or industrial properties. My goal is to ensure that my clients’ assessment rolls are upheld and that the property tax base remains stable. My practice is pro-active. In representing municipalities I understand the limitations of municipal budgeting and cost constraints and always attempt resolve cases within the client’s budgetary parameters. If a proceeding is able to be settled, I always endeavor to resolve those cases that should be settled within one tax year, for those cases that go to trial, I attempt to have the case placed on the trial calendar within two years. This ensures that a resolution is had in a timely manner and the client does not incur excess refund liability. 


I have excellent relationships founded on mutual respect with all of the local tax practitioners in the Capital District and beyond. I'm familiar with the appraisers utilized and the valuation methods that are typically utilized by petitioners in attempting to achieve property tax reductions and how to best counter these methods in court. I prepare every case from its inception as though it is to be tried. 


If you are an attorney representing a municipality or an assessor for a municipality with questions about your current Article 7 cases, the BOAR or SCAR process or have a unique property/ valuation theory that is being challenged in court, don't hesitate to contact me with your question and for an evaluation of your case. I charge reduced rates for municipalities.


My recently reported property tax case decisions are discussed below:


Village Square of Penna v. Town of Colonie (3rd Dep't. 12/31/2014 Slip Op. 519274). In this combined two part appeal from both an adverse trial judgment and the denial of a post trial motion to reduce the judgment, the Appellate Division unfortunately upheld the lower court's valuation determination. However, in the second appeal of the denial of the post trial motion (which was consolidated with the main appeal) the court found that the trial court could issue a judgment for a reduction lower than that set forth in the petitioners initial grievance to the BOAR and its subsequent Article & petition. The failure to plead a low enough amount resulted in a reduction in the amount of refunds due to the petitioner equal to $1,340,425.00 in assessed value. The Appellate Division's Order reversing that portion of the trial court's decision can be found here. Attorney Schopf litigated the post-trial motion at the trial court level and prepared the brief for the appeal.


Goodhue Wilton Properties Inc. v. Assessor of the Town of Wilton (3rd Dep’t. 10/23/14 Slip Op. 517488). The Appellate Division's Order upholding the trial court judgment in favor of the Town of Wilton can be found here.


Calvary Grace Church v. City of Cohoes (Supreme Court, Albany Co. 11/12/13 J. Lynch). The Trial Court ruled on a motion for summary judgment that petitioner (a Church) was unable to proceed with its tax challenge under both Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law and Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. The Court dismissed all claims under Article 78. This was a critical decision for the city as the elimination of the Article 78 challenge significantly changed the petitioner's burden of proof.







PROPERTY TAX CHALLENGES