NEW YORK, NY – John Catsimatidis, the independent Republican candidate for Mayor, today called on the city to extend the tax grievance deadline for property taxes beyond March 15 and announced the formation of a coalition of tax appeal attorneys to provide free initial advice to homeowners who believe their assessments are inaccurate. The Wednesday morning news conference was held in front of the NYC Municipal Building which houses the offices of the NYC Department of Finance and the Tax Commission.
The city sent property-value notices dated January 15, 2013 to homeowners in neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, including Manhattan Beach and Seagate. Owners have to submit written request for reconsideration to the city Department of Finance to recalculate the percent of the property’s lost value. Property owners initially had until February 15 of this year to apply for for assessment relief but the city has extended the deadline to March 15.
According to Mayor Bloomberg, roughly 1,000 city homes were destroyed by the storm. Local news reports estimate that a total of about 80,000 coastal homes also suffered water damage, some so badly that utility companies still won’t restore their heat or electricity. Other news reports state roughly 6,700 buildings around the city require significant repairs to be habitable, and about 750 more are deemed structurally unsound, according to city Buildings Department statistics. About 2,100 households are in FEMA-paid hotel rooms.
John Castimatidis said, “It is wrong and unconscionable that the city sent out increased tax assessments to thousands of middle class families whose homes had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy. How can you, in good faith, tell a homeowner that what’s left of their residence is now worth more than it was before it was ravaged by the storm?
“People whose lives and homes that were destroyed by the storm already have enough to deal with. City government needs to make this tax grievance process easier for the affected taxpayers. Mine, is a commonsense solution; I have gathered together a coalition of lawyers and organizations who will provide some free consultations to any homeowner who wants to learn more about how they can appeal their tax assessments. I’m doing my part to help the way I can to give these poor people some peace of mind.
“Homeowners just want the city to be fair; commonsense says that when your home is destroyed, you shouldn’t end up with higher property tax assessments.”
Despite the state legislature’s passage of a law to provide property tax relief to homeowner sand businesses affected by Sandy, the relief is not automatic and property owners must apply for any tax reductions.
According to statistics from the city’s Department of Finance, in 2011 the city received 27,944 applications for tax reassessment from residential property owners; 12,313 applications from commercial property owners and 3,670 applications from industrial property owners.
Local community organizations, like the Manhattan Beach Community Group ,(MBCG) have seen an increase in complaints from residents about tax hikes.
Catsimatidis hopes that lawyers can work collaboratively with local organizations and homeowners to fight the tax assessments.