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Tax Commission Lowers Your Property Tax, Finance Dept. Ups It Again. Wha??

Frank Lovece in Board Operations on September 4, 2012

New York City, Glen Oaks Village, Queens

Tax Commission and Dept of Finance
Sept. 4, 2012

Does the commission give a fair hearing? Even Bob Friedrich —  board president of the 110-building, 10,000-resident Glen Oaks Village co-op in Queens and a vocal critic of New York State's tax classification system for co-ops and condos — thinks so. "They've been reasonably OK in that you get an agency that has a willingness to listen," he says. "I think we get as fair a hearing as we can expect to get, although it's not anywhere near a perfect system."

Did They Not Get the Memo?

It can seem, however, as if no told the Department of Finance about this Though the tax commission may lower an assessment to a mutually agreed-upon number, the DoF the following year, returns to the original, higher number when preparing its tax rolls.

"Finance will take its originally published assessment and increase that," says attorney Eric Weiss, a tax specialist and partner at Tuchman Korngold Weiss Lippman & Gelles. "The starting point is the old assessment before reduction. You can't say it's because the Department of Finance doesn't know about it, because the Department of Finance gets communications from the tax commission that an offer to reduce the assessment has been accepted." In fact, Weiss notes, "The Department of Finance is the agency that generates the correction letter and issues a refund check or a credit."

"He's not wrong," says Newman. "They see if we made an offer or not, and how much that offer was. We enter it into a computer system they have access to. But Finance is not bound to follow what the tax commission did. They know about our changes and our offers, and they implement the assessments, but they're not required to follow them the next year."

Any silver lining here? "We're trying to coordinate better with Finance," Newman says, "and provide them with the basis of our analysis,"


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