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Opps! Credit mixup.

Oops! Credit mixup

Oops! The New York City Department of Finance has mistakenly sent letters to many property owners saying they will have overpayments credited to their July real estate tax bills. The owners will not now be automatically credited if they were repented by attornies for work done to reduce the real property taxes.

In some cases, the owners are represented by counsel who were responsible for the credits because of work done to reduce the real property taxes. The attorneys are currently receiving letters advising them of their clients' credits.

Martha E. Stark, Esq., special assistant on property taxes to the Commissioner of Finance, said if the department has a record of an attorney group number on file, the refunds will not be automatically credited. One of the problems, she noted, was that the Finance computer records were not totally up-to-date before the letters were sent out. Stark said Finance is now across checking records with the Tax Commission.

Attorneys were concerned because they are responsible for obtaining their clients refunds and tracking them to make sure they are issued properly. If the clients were being automatically credited, they may not be notified. The letters the attorneys are receiving, they say, are noting refunds which the attorneys say have already been collected or applied for, as well as other unaccountable credits. Attorneys also have a lien on the refunds to ensure payment of their fees and expenses.

Stark said several different credit problem scenarios had been brought to her attention already. In some cases, condominium owners are being individually credited for work done by sponsors' representatives to obtain J-51 benefits. Stark said they are not going to trace credits back to developers after the six-year statute of limitations has run. "The beneficiaries are there in the building," she added.

Stark is expecting to have other issues come up. "When you're dealing with a million properties there is no limit to the number of problems," she added. "It feels good to me, it feels good to the Commissioner (Carol O'Clereacain)," Stark said, to have the taxpayers finally getting the benefit of overpayments. "Better to have problems of this sort," she said.
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Title Annotation:New York City Department of Finance
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 12, 1991
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