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Some condos, co-ops cut off from tax relief

TimesLedger Newspapers

After recently celebrating the state’s commitment to securing a partial tax abatement plan for co-op and condominium owners, Bay Terrace’s Warren Schreiber said he was disappointed to see the city potentially complicating the process.

Schreiber, who serves as president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and co-president of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council, said in a statement the city Department of Finance had reached out to co-op and condominium owners to let them know that some of them were in danger of being excluded from the tax abatement.

“After much hard work by the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council and Albany lawmakers in putting together the co-op and condo tax abatement law, the NYC Department of Finance has found a way to screw it up,” Schreiber said. “Unfortunately, this is no surprise and simply represents business as usual at the DOF.”

The co-op property tax abatement only applies to those whose apartment units are their primary residences. the Department of Finance said. The agency said it reached out to co-op and condo owners throughout the city last week if their records did not show their units were their main address, so their abatements would be phased out.

Schreiber said the notice went out to neighbors of his who have lived at their one and only address for as many as 30 years, meaning they had to arbitrarily jump through more of the city’s hoops to prove that they indeed qualified for a tax abatement they deserved.

“To further complicate matters, owners must now complete and return the Cooperative Tax Abatement Primary Resident Verification no later than April 1, 2013,” Schreiber said. “This is happening because the DOF has failed to regularly, if ever, update their records.”

Earlier this year, elected officials from city and state government made right on their initial promises by extending the J-51 tax abatement program, saving co-op and condo owners from a devastating increase in real property taxes. Schreiber joined with various community leaders and elected officials in January to celebrate the new legislation, which he said kept financially struggling families from losing their homes.

The plan raised tax abatements from 17.5 percent to 25 percent this year, 26.5 percent next year and 28 percent in 2015 for properties whose average assessed values were less than $50,000, officials said.

According to the legislation, co-op and condo units with an average unit assessment value above $55,000 but less than or equal to $60,000, receive partial abatements of 20 percent, 21.2 percent and 22.5 percent over the next three years.

Beyond that, all units valued at more than $60,000 receive abatements of 17.5 percent over the next three years, the ruling said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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