Tony Cohen in Board Operations on August 12, 2011
On August 10, the Dept. of Finance announced that its website now features a database of property-tax refunds granted over the past five years. Board members and residents may now check Excel spreadsheets there to see whether their property has been issued a refund. The files there list any recent refunds that were issued on a property, and include tax periods, refund amounts, check date and check number.
"We have heard from several small business owners as well as rental, condo and co-op residents who were concerned they never knew about property-tax refunds their building received," said Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel in a statement. 'If you own or operate a property, you should not have to hire a specialist to track this information down."
Tax rebates are easy for co-ops boards to handle: Each shareholder pays his or her share of the real-estate tax as part of the monthly maintenance charge. So, any rebates go into the corporation’s coffers, benefiting each shareholder proportionally. Condo associations are different: Since each apartment is a separate piece of real estate, each unit-owner pays his or her real-estate taxes to the city individually. However, most boards have authority under their bylaws to file certiorari appeals on behalf of all residential units. Therefore, while the city issues rebate checks to the condominium association as a whole, the association, by law, must pass along to each unit-owner his or her share.
If you own or operate a
property, you should not
have to hire a specialist
to track this information down.
While the DOF does provides each condo association’s attorney with a "consolidated check notice" that gives the rebate amount for each "lot" (each parcel of real estate, which includes individual condo apartments), you would assume it would be easy to review the list and cutting a check to each unit-owner. But the city doesn't necessarily send one lump-sum check — it may send several that are spaced apart and may also send a rebate for more than one tax year at once. That means some units will have been sold during that time — and so a single apartment can have past and present owners, each due a varying amount.
Now, however, any present or former resident can access this online database to see all the refund information, and then contact the board so that everyone gets their fair share. You can get any additional information you need about tax-lot numbers and the like at the DOB page Property Information.
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