April 29, 2020
In Westchester County, property tax relief is coming. County Executive George Latimer signed a measure on Monday that will help taxpayers throughout the county who are facing financial struggles because of COVID-19. If property owners are having problems paying their taxes, they can work out options to reduce late-payment penalties, so they can pay their property taxes when things normalize and financial issues aren’t as difficult.
The law for property tax relief is a complement to an executive order granted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and allowed Latimer the ability to go ahead with his plan to remove late fees for both businesses and residences. The late fees that are commonly seen on property tax bills can be very expensive, and the goal of this order is to make sure people aren’t suffering from undue hardships where their property taxes are concerned. They have enough to deal with during this difficult time.
Specifically, the property tax relief bill allows towns to lower the fees for late payment of property taxes by up to 80 percent through the 15th of July. There’s no requirement for any type of specific hardship qualifications, either. The taxes are due on the 25th of May, and the executive order means the county can accept amounts under 60 percent of the tax amount, along with special assessments and ad valorem levies.
In order to be allowed to do that, though, the towns and cities that collect the taxes have to agree to waive late fees for residents. Any tax that’s not paid by July 15th, 2020 can be assessed a fee, though, because that’s the last day of the extension. That way residents and businesses get a break in paying their taxes, but the municipalities that collect these taxes don’t have to go without those funds for too long, either.
With this two-pronged approach to property tax relief, the help and support can be meaningful on a broad basis. The state, county, and municipal officials all collaborated on this executive order, so everyone is in agreement with how it’s going to work. A broad, sweeping level of help, coupled with the targeted way taxpayers will get relief, will provide support through a challenging time, according to officials.