Archive for the tag 'taxes'

Photo by Max T.

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m. inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Members and attendees will discuss real estate taxes that have changed in Manhattan Beach as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Representatives from the NYC Department of Finance will be on hand to answer your questions regarding the methods used to determine why new assessed values did or did not appear on your recent statement.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or, or visit

Photo by Erica Sherman

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

Council Member Mark Treyger, Chairman of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, is pleased to announce the passage of City Council legislation he sponsored to provide relief from tax increases on properties that were damaged during Superstorm Sandy and subsequently rebuilt to its prior condition. As a result of today’s law, property owners will not be penalized with unfair tax increases simply for performing critical repair work to their homes.

The issue arose several months ago, when storm victims began being hit with increased property assessments and real estate taxes as a result of necessary repair work to repair damage caused by the storm. The impacted property owners facing higher tax bills included several residents of Sea Gate and Coney Island who contacted Council Member Treyger for assistance. He has since worked with Mayor de Blasio and his City Council colleagues including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilman Vincent Ignizio to have this legislation passed as quickly as possible. Thanks to today’s legislation, most property owners who had their 2014 fiscal year property assessment reduced from 2013 as a result of storm damage, but then increased for fiscal year 2015 due to repairs, are eligible for this partial abatement.

“Victims of Superstorm Sandy were being victimized all over again by unfair increases in their property tax bills. To make matters worse, this was happening at a time when many families’ budgets are stretched to the maximum and every dollar counts. To ask someone to pay higher taxes for necessary repair work is patently unfair and only adds insult to injury for these New Yorkers. I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, our State Legislature and the City Council recognized the urgent need to immediately address this issue and came to a solution that is fair for all sides,” said Council Member Treyger.

Homeowners whose fiscal year 2015 assessment exceeds the fiscal year 2013 assessment that reflected the property value prior to the storm are covered under this law. The abatement will appear on impacted homeowners’ July property tax bills. In cases where the repair work resulted in an increase in the building’s square footage, this law provides for a decrease that is proportional to the increase in the building’s size.

For more information on eligibility requirements, contact 311 or the NYC Department of Finance at

A home in Seagate after Sandy. (Photo by Erica Sherman)

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the formation of a Sandy Oversight Unit this morning, with its first task slated to be an audit of the Build it Back recovery program.

Stringer is targeting the program in the wake of headlines earlier this year that noted money has been distributed and construction started in only a handful of cases nearly a year after Build it Back’s launch, despite nearly 20,000 homeowners on the wait-list.

The unit will be looking to see if the Housing Recovery Office – the program that oversees Build it Back – has set goals and timetables for the delivery of services and established procedures to reduce the backlog of applications. It will also look at the quality of the service and review fraud prevention procedures, with a focus on the Single Family Program.

The Oversight Unit will draw from the Comptroller’s Audit, Contracts, Budget and Policy Units, with an overall goal of reviewing how federal aid has been spent, making recommendations to reduce fraud, waste and abuse, monitoring the progress of Sandy projects and proposing policy recommendations for managing the financial tracking in future emergencies.

To aid the review, Stringer is holding Town Hall meetings across Sandy-stricken neighborhoods to hear from residents about the problems they face. The following locations and dates have been set:

  • April 30 in Breezy Point from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Bay House, 500 Bayside Drive, Breezy Point, NY
  • May 6 in Coney Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
  • May 20 in the Rockaways from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 348 Beach 71st Street, Arverne, NY
  • May 28 in Staten Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Olympia Activity Center (OAC), 1126 Olympia Blvd., Staten Island, NY

Mayor Bill de Blasio is already seeking to increase the efficiency of the program, announcing today that his office has completed a report that will kickstart the process, getting money out to homeowners faster. Details of those reforms will be made public later today.

Meanwhile, the mayor is also seeking to slash the property tax bills of 1,500 city residents who have rebuilt or repaired their homes since Superstorm Sandy. He announced yesterday that his office is pushing for support in Albany to provide a property tax credit for Sandy victims.

Construction and renovations to a home can trigger a higher assessment value, even if it’s solely for Sandy recovery. The bill would allow the city to grant partial property-tax abatement to nullify the higher assessed value from those repairs.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

To be eligible, homeowners would have to meet three criteria. First, the city had to reduce the valuation of the homeowner’s property in fiscal year 2014 from the value in 2013 because of Sandy damage. Second, the city would have had to increase the assessed value of the property for fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014. And, lastly, the 2015 assessed value of the building must exceed 2013′s.

While the city controls its property-tax rate, the Legislature and governor must approve special abatements like this.

The mayor has six weeks to gather support and pass the reforms before city property tax bills are delivered.


Still haven’t filed your taxes? Me neither. Fortunately, qualifying applicants can have it done for free at the Sheepshead Bay library this Saturday. See the flier above for details.

Source: rjppapa / Flickr

Source: rjppapa / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. A nice present would be getting that pesky tax return completed — and hopefully a large refund. Hint, hint, hint. But until then, here are some useful Q&As that will come in handy this snowy Tax Preparation Season.

Medical Deductions

Question: I recently had a heart attack. Can I deduct the diet I now have to follow?

Answer: Here are a few ‘yes’ and ‘no’ deductions:

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Source: alancleaver_2000/Flick

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Well, it’s Tax Preparation Season, and I know y’all youse all of you are as excited about tax season as I am. And it really isn’t as bad as the dentist. reported that tax compliance takes 6.1 billion hours a year. How much time do you take to prepare, or prepare for, your tax return? Remember, no software package is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code, and no tax software package is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.

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Source: wmfawmfa/Flickr

Area resident Petr Murmylyuk was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiring to hack into retail brokerage accounts and execute sham trades, the U.S. Attorney announced on Friday.

Murmylyuk, who also went by the name Dmitry Tokar, pleaded guilty in July 2013 to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and tax fraud for a separate but related scheme.

According to prosecutors, Murmylyuk admitted to his role in conspiring to steal from online trading accounts at Scottrade, E*Trade, Fidelity and others wit the aid of foreign nations visiting, studying and living in the United States.

Here’s how the scheme went down, according to prosecutors:

Members of the conspiracy first gained unauthorized access to the online accounts of brokerage firm customers. The conspirators then used stolen identities to open additional accounts – referred to in the Information as “Profit Accounts” – at other brokerage houses. They then caused the victims’ accounts to make unprofitable and illogical securities trades with the Profit Accounts, leading to losses in the victims’ accounts and gains in the Profit Accounts. One version of the fraud involved causing the victims’ accounts to sell options contracts to the Profit Accounts, then to purchase the same contracts back minutes later for many times the price.

The members of the conspiracy recruited foreign nationals visiting, studying, and living in the United States to open bank accounts into which illegal proceeds could be deposited. The conspirators then caused the proceeds of the sham trades to be transferred from the Profit Accounts into those accounts, where the stolen money could be withdrawn.

In addition to the prison term, Murmylyuk is ordered to serve three years of supervised release, and pay restitution of $505,357.79.

A 1953 postage stamp for a mere three pennies. Those were the days, my friend. Source: U.S. Embassy The Hague / Flickr

A 1953 postage stamp for a mere three pennies. Source: U.S. Embassy The Hague / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Guess what? The cost of a stamp increased. Again. First class increased from 46 cents to 49 cents, and postcards increased from 33 cents to 34 cents. Also, the New York State minimum wage increased from $7.25 to $8 an hour and, of course, tax rates increased and benefits decreased.

Welcome to 2014.

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Source: 132Photography / Etsy

Source: 132Photography / Etsy

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Can 2013 be described as in “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Let’s make 2014 a better year by (1) filing a week earlier than you did last year, and (2) by calling me right after April to start the important financial planning that’s been on the back burner for so long.

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Source: Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr

It appears New York City is testing out a new program to put money back in the pockets of low income earners, offering up to $2,000 a year for the next three years.

Paycheck Plus is a program sponsored by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, and offers enrollees a 50-50 chance of receiving up to $2,000 after filing taxes. The qualifications are pretty straightforward:

  • File taxes as a single adult
  • Do not claim children on your tax return
  • Earned less than $30,000 in the past year from work or self-employment or if you were unemployed
  • Are age 21 to 64
  • Have a social security number
  • Live in New York City

To get enrolled, you can call the Food Bank Paycheck Plus Program at (646) 981-6111.

The program is modeled after the the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides up to $6,000 a year to low-income working families. The problem with the EITC is that, while it helps families out of the ruts, it doesn’t do much for single tax filers, who can only receive a maximum of $487.

A fact sheet on Paycheck Plus calls the EITC “the most successful antipoverty program in the U.S.” for families, and the Paycheck Plus program is built to translate that success to low earning single people in New York City.

The three-year pilot program will offer participants up to $2,000 a year from 2015 to 2017. To measure its success, they’re now signing up 6,000 participants, with 3,000 to receive the benefits and another 3,000 to serve as a control group, and will be checking in on them throughout the pilot program.

Update (10:50 a.m.): The program’s webpage was updated after this post was written, noting that they’re now particularly interested in applicants with children under the age of 19 who do not live with them.

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