$75K in NYC property tax breaks up for grabs

A Halstead Property LLC "For Sale" sign hangs in front of a townhouse in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release existing home sales figures on Sept. 19. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg

Craig Warga/Bloomberg

Owners of single-family homes, condos and co-ops are eligible for a $ 300 property tax break, but 250,000 households in New York City have failed to sign up for it.

New York City homeowners had better catch up on their paperwork — or they’ll risk losing $ 75 million in tax breaks, a new report warned Monday.

A Dec. 31 deadline is looming for a state property tax abatement that’s worth about $ 300 per household to owners of single-family homes, condos and co-ops.

But only about 53% of city households that got the STAR break last year have signed up so far, according to the Independent Budget Office.

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The abatement used to come to homeowners automatically, but officials have added a registration requirement for the first time since the break was implemented 15 years ago to counter high school taxes around the state.

Beginning in August — and again in September and November — the state Tax Department mailed out repeated warnings to New Yorkers reminding them that they have to apply for the abatement this year.

No one seems to be listening — at least in New York City, where 250,000 households have failed to sign up.

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New York state Controller Thomas DiNapoli found this year that about a fifth of all property tax break claims were actually from ineligible homeowners who tried to apply the abatement to more than one home each.

Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News

New York state Controller Thomas DiNapoli found this year that about a fifth of all property tax break claims were actually from ineligible homeowners who tried to apply the abatement to more than one home each.

The statewide average signup rate is 66%, but in the Bronx only 47% who qualify have registered for the abatement.

Even Staten Island, which has the highest signup rate of all five boroughs at 64%, is below the average.

In Brooklyn, 53% of those eligible have signed up. The Queens signup rate is 52%, while 53% of Manhattanites have registered.

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The low signup rates in the city might stem from rules that prohibit people who own more than one home from receiving multiple breaks.

New Yorkers with second homes might be registering for the break on their country places instead of their city households, the budget office speculated, because the abatement is generally slightly higher outside the city.

Before this year’s new registration requirement, officials took homeowners at their word that they only applied for the break for one property.

But the state found honesty wasn’t the best policy where tax breaks were concerned. An audit this year by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli found about a fifth of all abatement claims were actually from ineligible homeowners. Most of those were “double-dippers” applying for multiple homes.

To apply, register at tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/ default.htm or call (518) 457-2036.

jfermino@nydailynews.com


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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