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Town of Cortlandt, NY

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

Department: Tax Receiver

  • Tax Receiver General Questions
    • I never received my tax bill, or received it late, do I still have to pay the penalty?

      Yes, the failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a statement will not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by law (New York State Real Property Tax Law §922). In addition, neither the Receiver of Taxes nor any other official have legal authority to waive statutory penalty charges. These are fixed by NY State Real Property Tax Law.

    • If I mail my tax payment on the due date do I have to pay a penalty?

      Real Property Tax Law provides as follows:

      Payment of taxes by mail, when enclosed in a postpaid envelope properly addressed to the appropriate collecting officer and is deposited in a post office or official depository under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Post Office shall, upon delivery, be deemed to have been made to such officer on the date of the United States Postmark on such wrapper. The provision of this section shall not apply in the case of postmarks not made by the United States Post Office. A postage meter stamp, such as Pitney Bowes, is not a postmark made by the United States Post Office, and therefore, is not within the provisions of Real Property Tax Law section 925. Payments cannot be deemed timely because of a postage meter postmark date on an envelope containing a tax payment (Op. New York State Comp. 69-170).

      If taxes are not received until after the due date, they are not paid until after the due date unless they fall squarely within the provisions of §925 of the Real Property Tax Law, and the penalty must be added and collected. No Town official or employee can waive the penalty.

    • If the due date falls on the weekend may I pay my taxes without penalty on the next business day?

      Real Property Tax Law, §925-a expressly covers such a situation by providing as follows:

      “Extension of time for collection, notwithstanding any contrary provision of this chapter, or any general, special or local law, code or charter, if the final date for collection of taxes, or for the collection of taxes without penalty, or for the collection of taxes at a lesser prescribed penalty interest rate shall fall on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, an extension for the collection of taxes shall automatically be in effect until the first business day following such date and the date for paying over taxes shall be extended to the following day.”

      In connection with tax payments, the State Comptroller has held that if a tax due date falls on a Saturday, or on a Sunday or on a public holiday, payments may be made on the following business day without additional charge.

    • What is a tax warrant?

      A legal document pursuant to the NYS Real Property Tax Law directing this office to receive and collect taxes on behalf of the Town, County, or School District.

    • Can I pre-pay my taxes?

      No. Until this office receives a tax warrant, we do not have the legal authority to collect taxes, nor do we know what the taxes will be or how much each taxpayer will owe.

    • I just paid off my mortgage, how do I get tax bills sent to me instead of my bank?

      Congratulations on paying off your mortgage!
      While you no longer have a monthly mortgage, you will still have to pay your Town and County and your School taxes. Please contact our office to let us know if you were paying your taxes through your mortgage and now would like the bill sent directly to you. You can do this by:

      • Calling our office at 914-734-1030
      • Coming in to see us where we can answer any questions you may have
      • Inform us in writing at:

      Tax Receiver
      Town of Cortlandt
      One Heady Street
      Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567

      Make sure to provide us with your EMAIL to receive bills, reminders, and receipts.

    • Am I entitled to any exemptions?
    • I want to buy a new house, what would the taxes be for that property?

      To find out taxes on a property you can either:

      • Give our office a call at 914-734-1030
      • Come in and visit us
      • Search Property Tax Payment History information by clicking here. From there you can see past property payment history and the amounts that were paid. If you click on the “Bill Details” tab it will give you a detailed explanation of the bill and will show you if the property currently has any exemptions that you may or may not qualify thus giving you an approximate amount that you will be paying if you were to purchase that property.
    • How do I change the address where my tax bill is sent?
    • How do I change the name on my tax bill?
    • I am thinking of doing some home improvements, will it change my tax bill?
  • Tax Receiver Property Tax
    • What is Property Tax?

      Property tax is a local tax based on the value of real property. Real property is defined as land and any permanent structures attached to it. Examples of real property are houses, gas stations, office buildings, vacant land, shopping centers, saleable natural resources (e.g. oil, gas, timber), farms, apartments, factories, restaurants, and, in most instances, mobile homes.

      Counties, cities, towns, villages, and school districts each raise money through property tax. The money collected funds schools, pays for police and fire protection, maintains roads, and funds other municipal services enjoyed by residents. The Town of Cortlandt sends property tax bills in April for the Town and County, and in September for the School bill.

    • What determines the amount of a Property Tax Bill?

      The amount of a particular property’s tax bill is determined by two things: the property’s taxable assessment and the tax rates of the taxing jurisdictions in which the property is located. The tax rate is determined by the amount of the tax levy to be raised from all, or part, of an assessing unit, and the unit’s taxable assessed value. The assessment is determined by the assessor and is based on the value of the property less any applicable property tax exemptions.

    • What kind of property is assessed?

      Every parcel of real property is assessed no matter how big or how small. Real property is defined as land and any permanent structures attached to it. Examples of real property are houses, gas stations, office buildings, vacant land, shopping centers, saleable natural resources (e.g. oil, gas, timber), farms, apartments, factories, restaurants, and, in most instances, mobile homes.

      Though all real property in an assessing unit is assessed, not all of it is taxable. Some, such as religious or government owned property are completely exempt from paying property taxes. Other properties may receive a partial exemption, such as veterans, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. To find out if you qualify for any exemptions you can contact the Assessor’s office at 914-734-1040 or click here.

    • What is an Assessment?

      A Property’s assessment is a percentage of its market value. Market value is how much a property would sell for under normal conditions. Assessments are determined by the assessor, an appointed local official who independently estimates the value or real property in an assessing unit. Assessing units follow municipal boundaries – county, city, town, or village.
      The assessor can estimate the market value of property based on the sale prices of similar properties. A property can also be valued based on the depreciated cost of materials and labor required to replace it. Commercial property may be valued on its potential to produce rental income for its owners. In other words, the assessor can use whatever approach provides the best estimate of a property’s market value.

      Once the assessor estimates the value of a property, its total assessment is calculated. New York State law provides that every property in most municipalities be assessed at a uniform percentage of value. That percentage can be five percent, ten percent, fifty percent, or any other percentage not exceeding 100 percent. It does not matter what percentage is used. What is important is that every property is assessed at the same uniform percentage within one assessing unit.
      After a property’s total assessment is determined, its taxable assessed value is computed. The taxable assessed value is the total assessment less any applicable property tax exemptions.

    • How do I know if my assessment is right?

      It is up to individual property owners to monitor their own assessments. Taxpayers should bring any questions about assessments to the assessor before the tentative roll is established (contact your assessor for the tentative roll date). A tentative roll is a list for the current year that shows assessment information for every property in the municipality.
      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 your property is assessed.

      Informal meetings with the assessors to resolve assessment questions about the next assessment roll can take place throughout the year. If, after speaking with your assessor, you still feel you are unfairly assessed, ask for the booklet, How to File a Complaint on Your Assessment. It describes how to make a case for an assessment reduction to the Board of Assessment Review, provides the instructions for filing a complaint, and indicates the time of year it can be done. Please contact the Assessor’s office for more information, (914) 734-1040.

    • What determines the Tax Rate?

      The tax rate is determined by the amount of the tax levy. There are several steps involved in determining a tax levy. First, the taxing jurisdiction (a school district, town, county, etc.) develops and adopts a budget. Revenue from all sources other than the property tax (State aid, sales tax revenue, user fees, etc.) is determined. These revenues are subtracted from the original budget and the remainder becomes the tax levy. On your tax bill property tax rates are expressed as a percentage per $1,000.00 of the assessed value of your real property.

    • How is my tax bill figured out?

      Property taxes are an ad valorem tax, a tax based on the assessed value of real property. Two owners of property that are of equal value should pay the same amount in property taxes. For example, the owner of more valuable property should pay more in taxes than the owner of less valuable property.

      The property tax differs from income tax and sales tax because it does not depend on how much money you earn or on how much you spend. It is based totally on how much the property you own is worth.

      For example, if an assessor assesses property at 15 percent of value, a house and land with a market value of $100,000 would have an assessment of 15,000. With no exemptions, this is the houses taxable assessed value. This 15,000 is not the tax bill. The tax bill for this house depends on the municipality’s tax rate.


      The tax rate is determined by dividing the total amount of money that has to be raised from the property tax (the tax levy) by the taxable assessed value of taxable real property in a municipality. If, for example, a town levy is $2,000,000, and the town has a taxable assessed value (the sum of the assessments of all taxable properties) of 40,000,000, the tax rate would be $50 for each $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

      $2,000,000 / $40,000,000 = .05 x $1,000 = $50 (tax rate)

      The town tax bill for this house with an assessment of 15,000 would be $750. The $750 results from dividing the assessment of 15,000 by $1,000 to get $15 (because the tax rate is based on each $1,000 of assessed value). Then, the $15 is multiplied by the tax rate to get the tax bill of $750.

      15,000 / $1,000 = $15 x $50 = $750 (tax bill)

      As you can see, the size of the tax bill depends on both the assessment and the tax rate, which is based on the tax levy.

    • What else may occur before the Tax Rate is final?

      There are times when tax rates cannot be set until the tax levy is apportioned, or divided, among various municipalities. Apportionment occurs if parts of a school district, or special district, exist in more than one city or town. Taxes are apportioned so that the parts of the district in the different municipalities each pay their fair share of the district tax levy.

      The county tax levy also is apportioned among the towns and cities in the county. This is so that cities and towns will each pay their fair share of the county tax levy.

    • What makes my tax bill change?

      Tax bills increase for one or more of the following reasons: bigger budgets are adopted, revenue from sources other than the property tax shrinks, the taxable assessed value of the assessing unit changes, or the tax levy is apportioned differently.

      Taxpayers unhappy with growing property tax bills should not concern themselves just with assessments. They also should examine the scope of the budgets and expenditures of the taxing jurisdictions (counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, etc.) and address those issues in the appropriate available forums, such as meetings of the state, county, or town, and school boards.