Tax law, New York City, real property tax


This article examines the way the tax system in New York City contrasts sharply with the New York state uniform tax system that requires all real property to be assessed at full market value and within a single jurisdiction, taxed at the same statutory rate. The author finds that properties in the city are assessed at differing percentages of market value, resulting in wide differences in effective tax rates, particularly between residential and non-residential properties. The author posits that a switch by the city to a uniform tax system would result in major reallocation of the tax burden among the different property groups in the city. This article explores several problems facing New York City and the New York state legislature in making reforms to the property tax laws. It first analyzes sections 306, 307 and 720 of the Real Property Tax Law, and then examines and comments on a number of suggestions developed to help the City resolve its property tax problems. Proposed solutions by the author include classification of real property, the development of a homestead exemption from property taxes combined with a uniform tax, and the use of a circuit-breaker tax to ease the burden of a property tax on low-income property owners.

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