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Clock Is Ticking on Tax Abatement Filings

Tribeca, Manhattan

Abatement Breakdown

56 Leonard Street, where 421-a tax abatements have been suspended (image via Google Maps).

March 26, 2018

Missing paperwork has cost nearly 2,000 New Yorkers – including many condo unit-owners – their coveted 421-a tax abatements. Those owners and their condo boards are now scrambling to get their paperwork in order, and they have until May 1 to do so – or forfeit tax breaks worth $66 million, Brick Underground reports

Among the highest-profile buildings to have its abatement suspended is the 145-unit luxury condo tower at 56 Leonard Street in Tribeca, with its arresting cantilevered glass silhouette. 

“Owners receiving valuable tax benefits need to live up to their end of the deal,” says Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). “We will continue to collaborate with our partner city and state agencies to make sure those who try to take advantage of the system will be held accountable.” 

The city’s compliance push has targeted buildings that have received 421-a tax benefits for at least five years but have not filed a required Final Certificate of Eligibility (FCE) with the Department of Buildings. HPD sent letters to 5,268 tax lots, warning them that they had a limited time to file an FCE. On Jan. 31, the city notified 1,788 property owners that they had failed to meet the deadline and their tax exemptions were being suspended. 

Attorney Daniel Bernstein of Rosenberg & Estis says many condo unit-owners are “concerned” because “even a temporary suspension could hurt.” 

All is not lost. Unit-owners have a grace period until May 1 to file an FCE and get their exemption reinstated on their July 1 tax bill. If they fail to meet this second deadline, however, HPD will initiate proceedings to recover back taxes for all the years non-compliant unit-owners had been receiving 421-a benefits. 

Condo unit-owners are advised to contact their condo boards. HPD offers guidelines for filing an FCE here.

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