Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Tax Issues

Published: Summer 2001

The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes thanks all of its members who for so many months and years have made sure that our elected officials continue to focus on the disproportionately high property taxes paid by homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums in our city. Thanks to your efforts, both Mayor Giuliani and the City Council firmly supported continuing the property tax abatement program for three more years. This was included in their agreement for the City budget for fiscal year 2002 (which began 7/1/01) and they jointly requested authorization from the State legislature for the abatement program to continue.

The City budget was delivered on time in early June. However, State legislation was required both to establish the property tax rate for the new fiscal year and to continue the tax abatement for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums, City representatives in the Assembly and Senate quickly introduced legislation, which quickly passed both houses of the legislature. Not quickly enough, however, for the Department of Finance to include these factors in preparing bills for payment due July 1, 2001. Consequently, cooperative corporations and condominium unit owners received property tax bills for July payment with full property taxes (fiscal 2002 assessments were used, but the rate from fiscal 2001 was applied, since the new rate had not yet been voted in).

Once Governor Pataki signs the abatement extender bill, there will be a window of opportunity for buildings and units not registered for the abatement to qualify. When that information is received, the Department of Finance will calculate all exemptions and abatements, using the new tax rate for fiscal 2002, which the City Council will establish through its annual Tax Fixing Resolution. Necessary State legislation that is awaiting the Governor's signature has delayed this vote. It is anticipated that the new rate for Class 2, which is comprised of multiple dwellings, including housing cooperatives and most of the condominiums in the city, will be 10.792%, a modest reduction from the fiscal 2001 rate of 10.847%
In November, the Department of Finance will write to the designated contact for every cooperative participating in the property tax abatement program, charting all abatements and exemptions to which each apartment is entitled. The cooperative will have the responsibility of distributing these amounts by June 30,2002. January and April tax bills for these cooperatives and for individual condominium unit owners will be adjusted to compensate for the overpayments collected in July and October.

At CNYC's 21st annual Housing Conference, Action Committee Chairman Martin Karp Action Committee Chairman Martin Karp and Department of Finance Deputy Chief Review Assessor James Rheingrover will present an afternoon workshop where you will find answers to your questions about the abatement and exemption programs.

The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes continues its crusade for a permanent city plan for property tax fairness. A dozen years of effort have brought us to this point. Now a permanent program is needed to ensure tax fairness without having to ask the State legislature to extend this temporary abatement program every few years. The Action Committee had been optimistic that this would be accomplished before the Giuliani administration left office, but the Mayor determined that the revenue lost through elimination of the commuter tax last year made it impossible to do more at this time than continue the existing abatement program.

City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone disagreed; he was of the opinion that the City should deepen the abatement program. At CNYC annual meeting in March, Mr. Vallone announced a proposal to increase the abatement from 25% to 40% for buildings with average assessments of $15,000 per unit or less and increase the abatement for all other cooperatives and condominiums from 17.5% to 20%. His proposal was not included in the budget proposal, but it has been introduced in two different bills currently before the State legislature, and could be enacted into law later this year or next year.

Now the abatement extender is in place for three more years. In the course of that time, a new city administration and a largely new city council will take office. The task of the Action Committee will be to ensure that these new elected officials continue progress toward permanent tax reform.

A meeting of the Action Committee has been scheduled for Thursday, September 13, 2001, two days after the city wide primary election. At that point, strategies will be set for keeping property tax fairness a prominent issue in the election and in the new administration. Please be sure that your cooperative or condominium is represented at this meeting. To add your name to the Action Committee mailing list, call (212) 496-1306.


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