Over the last six years, according to a new audit from the city comptroller, New York City has missed out on $59.2 million in tax revenue because it forgot to stop giving tax breaks, intended for senior citizen homeowners, to recipients who had died. From the Associated Press:
The Department of Finance is required to reevaluate each senior’s qualifications for the tax break every two years. The report found it had not done so for the past ten years.
A total of 3,246 properties continued to receive tax breaks after the homeowner had died.
“It’s a problem that we inherited, and we are fixing it,” Sonia Alleyne, a spokesperson for the finance department, told Gawker in a statement. “About 10 years ago, DOF stopped doing renewals for all of its exemption programs. The FY17 Adopted Budget allocates $1.6 million in baseline funds for 26 additional staff for the Homeowner Tax Benefits Unit to administer the initial and renewal exemption applications to ensure continued eligibility for benefits and compliance with State and local statutes. We are in the process of hiring the staff. As we implement the renewal program, we will revoke the benefits for all unqualified property owners prospectively.”