Tax Break For Coop, Condo Owners Scrutinized
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After a tax break for condo and coop owners was held up in Albany last year, some fiscal watchdogs say the city should consider retooling how it assesses these properties, as millions of dollars may be wasted under the current program. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Coop and condo owners, your tax bills are out, but the final payment may not be etched in stone.
"Coop and condominium owners are very concerned about where the real estate taxes are going," said Stuart Saft of the Council of NY Cooperatives.
That's in part because a 16-year-old tax break for some 364,000 coops and condos was held up in Albany last year.
Coops and condos are assessed at widely different rates than single-family homes. The break is supposed to level that out.
The governor's office said the break will be considered in Albany's upcoming session. If it isn't, tax bills for some owners could go up by $1,000 on average.
"It's not fair to treat Manhattan coops and condominiums as the city's ATM," Saft said. "The city needs to come up with an overall tax method that's fair to everyone."
It's a challenge that some say may be a far more complicated task.
"Using an abatement was not the most efficient and cleanest way to deal with this problem, that you really needed to think about fixing the assessment system," said George Sweeting of the Independent Budget Office.
The city's Independent Budget Office said some areas of the city benefit from the break far more than others. The Upper East Side and the Upper West Side are raking in much of the tax break.
"By our estimate, there is $275 million out of $465 million that is not needed."
It's safe to say most property owners don't want to see their taxes go up. But here on the Upper West Side, the program actually got mixed reviews.
"An awful lot of people live in coops and condos, and most of them are not rich," said one person. "They've been there for years, like I have, and it's going to be really a hardship if its not continued."
"On the newer ones they are getting artificially low taxes, and so it's probably appropriate that they go up for those people," said another.
At least for now, Albany officials are assuring homeowners here that this year, they will get their tax break.