Media Spin on NY Property Tax Cap Ignores How Much Homeowners are Losing

The media appears to be almost unanimously helping Gov. Cuomo herald the benefits of the New York property tax cap, and the advantages of making it permanent. But what aren’t New Yorkers being told about the anticipated extension of the cap?

Cuomo’s Tax Saving Strategies

Almost any measure to slash sky high NY property taxes is welcomed by local property owners. And that is especially true on Long Island. As the current tax cap nears an end a big push is being made to make it permanent. That is providing it is included in the rent control bill which is currently on the table. Sadly plans to push a tax plan that would adjust taxes based upon income is being scraped by the governor due to a lack of support.

According to the governor’s website the average tax payer has saved around $800 over the past 3 years, thanks to the property tax cap. Thanks to limiting the increase of school related taxes those in the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk have been proclaimed to be some of the biggest winners. Estimated cumulative savings in these counties over the last 3 years are reported to be $1,923, and $1,588 respectively.

So where are the Flaws?

What keeps being glossed over is that not all school districts keep to the 2% annual cap. And there is no guarantee that they will in the future. However, even more significant, and glaringly obvious to those that live on Long Island is the fact that these savings really pale in comparison to their total annual property tax bills. Many are overcharged by more than that each year.

This story from the Times Union reminds us that our entire life’s work and gains can seem to amount for nothing if unfair, overblown property tax bills continue to be issued as the status quo. If you make it to 72 years old, but still have to work a back breaking physical job full time just to cover your annual property tax bill, it just isn’t sustainable. And that’s even if you have no other monthly bills, and no mortgage payment. Hopefully you never get sick, or need healthcare as you age either. While previous numbers have shown that as many as 48% of property tax bills are over-inflated each year, the Nassau County Assessor estimates that only about 25% of residents actually challenge their bills. He also notes that “By state law, if someone appeals, you can’t raise their taxes. You can only lower them.”

That suggests at least a quarter of Long Island residents overpaying for property taxes each year. And we can’t really expect those receiving the money to voluntarily refund everyone else if they are getting free money, and people aren’t complaining.

So if you are one of these Long Island property owners, or you know someone; make sure you and they file a property tax appeal this year!

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