In 1990, its crusade against property taxes was born. Now, after 30 years and more than 335,000 completed property tax grievances later, Property Tax Reduction Consultants is a family affair with the mission of saving Long Islanders money on their property taxes, one home at a time.
Sean Acosta, the president and founder of Property Tax Reduction Consultants, hails from humble beginnings in Bayside, Queens. Coming from a working-class background, the Acosta family learned from experience about the cost of living in the Big Apple.
Starting with Acosta’s first home in Whitestone, Queens, he realized that there was an opportunity in the property tax grievance industry. He launched Property Tax Reduction Consultants in 1990 as somewhat of a hobby and a quest to help his family and friends make their property taxes more affordable.
“I first began researching property taxes for my family and friends, trying to save them money. I realized that there was a massive disparity in the amounts of money that some people were paying in property taxes versus their neighbors,” says Acosta. “I saw how unfairly the property tax system was treating all New Yorkers and I felt a calling to help.”
This calling would lay the foundation for a tremendously successful company, now in its 31st year of operation in 2021.
THE EARLY YEARS
At a juncture in history when technology was just becoming more mainstream, Acosta saw an opportunity to invest in his company and embrace the future.
In an industry which could have been most aptly described as “done by hand,” he worked with computer scientists who helped him design state-of-the-art software, making the grievance process more efficient and more effective. He was seeing a technological revolution in property taxes before his eyes, which laid the groundwork for his company’s future successes.
After evaluating and experimenting with the new technological advancements, Acosta set his sights on a new frontier: Long Island.
MOVING TO LONG ISLAND
Acosta then expanded his practice on Long Island and began operating out of Roslyn. His practice was soon embraced by Long Islanders, as suburban New Yorkers pay among the highest property taxes in America.
While it was no secret in the late 1990s and early 2000s that property taxes were high on Long Island, it was little-known that there was a proactive way to reduce them, known as the tax grievance.
His operation first began as a public information campaign, to spread the word of the millions of dollars in savings that he was bringing to Nassau and Suffolk homeowners. From there, his client base began to expand from the borders of Nassau County and New York City to the Twin Forks on Long Island’s East End.
“Property taxes do not discriminate, and take a massive financial toll on homeowners old, young, new to Long Island or longtime resident,” says Acosta. “At this time, it was new to many that our tax bills were not a be-all and end-all for what must be paid, so it was important to spread the word about our services.”
With the notoriety around the grievance process, his business grew. He moved his company from Roslyn to new executive offices in Jericho in the 2000s, and in 2020, he moved again to larger offices in Plainview.
And don’t forget about the technology.
“Technology has moved at such a rapid pace, and we have adjusted with the times,” Acosta says. “Today, we have expanded our technology to allow local residents to communicate with us seamlessly, without even picking up the telephone. Our clients and prospective clients can start the grievance process with the click of a button — in the palm of their hand — at PTRC.com.”
Acosta places an emphasis on being part of the Long Island community, which is why his name has become nearly as identifiable with charity, philanthropy, and community activism as it has with property taxes.
No cause, though, is closer to his heart than the United States Marines Toys for Tots program, of which he is a vice chairman. Acosta has reinvested tens of thousands of dollars in profits to make sure that the holidays are bright for each child on Long Island.
But it is not only about toys. In Acosta’s mindset, each and every holiday is a time to give back. For years, he has supported the Toys for Tots Thanksgiving Dinner Benefit in Freeport. He has brought Thanksgiving turkey dinners, with all the fixings, to children who are food insecure or homeless. Giving the children a holiday experience that they will remember is critical to Sean’s mission on Long Island.
“The well-being of others is my top priority,” he says. “I have been blessed with the success that I have had on Long Island. Giving back to the community that I love is part of who I am, and I hope that I can inspire others to give back with me.”
Acosta has also hosted other charities and supported them financially, including the yearly breast cancer walk at Jones Beach and the Special Olympics, among others.
“Coming from a modest upbringing, I understand what it means for families to stress about finances and struggle to make ends meet,” he says. “If I can reduce their taxes in some areas, and help children have a Thanksgiving meal and a toy for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, then I think it is a life well lived.”
A FAMILY AFFAIR
While Sean’s company has been successful, his biggest point of professional pride goes far beyond business success. The ability to work alongside his son, Sean Acosta Jr., the vice president for legal affairs for Property Tax Reduction Consultants, is priceless.
Sean Acosta Jr., is an attorney who navigates the legal complexities of the property tax grievance process while interfacing with customers and cementing the foundation for another 30 years in the field.
The elder Acosta says his son’s command of technology and his legal know-how is exactly what is needed to once again bring Property Tax Reduction Consultants into the future.
“Sean is smart, personable, and has the exact skill set needed to succeed in this industry,” says his father. “It is humbling to see his success in the industry, and it gives me the confidence that this company will continue to help Long Islanders long after I am retired — which, I may add, is not happening anytime soon!”
When asked about working with his father, Sean Jr. says with a grin: “It’s been an amazing experience to work alongside my father and to help ensure that his mission of assuring that Property Tax Reduction Consultants clients pay the lowest possible property tax as required by law will continue — especially in the Covid-19 era.”
He continues, “Many people on Long Island are financially distressed,” he says. “I can see that our mission here at Property Tax Reduction Consultants is more important now than ever.”