Owners of Sandy-damaged homes get property tax help
by Rahinur Akther
Feb 20, 2013 | 1631 views | 1 1 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Holding a number in his hand, Joseph Farbowitz was waiting to talk to a tax officer at Queens Borough Hall. He was trying to figure out why the property tax on his Sandy-damaged home went up 6 percent.

“The tax bill does not make any sense, because our properties have significant reduction in the market value and yet we got an increase,” he said. “I can't figure it out, and mathematically it is confusing.”

Approximately 30 home and property owners from all over the Queens attended the recent Property Tax Outreach Session, which was hosted by the City Tax Commission and the Department of Finance.

Tax Commission President Glenn Newman said if people want to challenge their assessed values, they need to file a claim with the city. At Borough Hall, representatives were assisting property owners with filling out the necessary forms.

“Even a property that has damage still has a value,” said Newman. “So they need to make adjustments to confirm the value is correct, but there still has to be a tax.”

The Finance Department currently gets a list from the Building Department of properties damaged in the storm, and representatives are currently going out into the field to inspect those properties and adjust the assessed value.

“It is insult to injury,” said Sandra Farrell, a homeowner in Belle Harbor, of the increase in her tax bill. “I lost my property in the storm, and it is been very difficult emotionally as well.”

While some homeowners felt the session did not provide any new information except addressing Sandy-related damages, others found it effective.

“I am more knowledgeable now than before about my tax bill,” said Frank Chimera. “It is a very complicated process.”

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February 27, 2013
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