FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION REDUCING INTEREST RATE ON LATE PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The next bill before me is Introductory No. 654 sponsored at the request of our Administration by Council Members Weprin, Sears and Jackson.
“This bill allows the Department of Finance to make real property interest rates fairer and easier for taxpayers to understand. Specifically, this bill will allow virtually all homeowners to pay their property tax bills quarterly. Currently, many of them are only permitted to pay semiannually. In addition, owners will have an extra 15 days after the due date to pay their bills before interest starts to accrue.
“The bill also will require that the Department of Finance not charge interest on payments that are misapplied to the wrong account until after the taxpayer is given a reasonable opportunity to pay the principle amount due. Currently, interest is charged immediately starting with the period when the mistake was made, even if the error occurred several years ago.
“In addition, this bill will allow virtually every homeowner and many more owners of coops and condos to qualify for 9% interest rate if they are unable to pay their property tax on time. Currently, many homeowners pay 18% interest.
“Finally, this bill simplifies the way Finance calculates the discount offered to owners who pay early. The current provisions are confusing and do not provide an incentive to pay the full amount of taxes due for the year up front. The new discount rules would encourage more owners to pay the entire year's balance by offering a 1.5% discount on the full year’s taxes. All of these changes will greatly benefit taxpayers and also simplify the way Finance programs its bills.
“I would like to thank the Department of Finance for its effort to push this bill through the legislative process and the Law Department for its assistance. I also want to acknowledge the Council for working cooperatively and expeditiously with the Administration on this issue and for their support on this bill.”
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
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