February 4, 2013

Assembly Approves Hurricane Sandy Assessment Relief Acts
Legislation Provides Tax Relief for Properties
Damaged or Destroyed by Storm

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney announced today passage of legislation (A.39 and A.2294) to provide property tax relief to New York home owners and businesses in the wake of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. The two bills will allow property owners who experienced catastrophic damage as a result of the storm to apply for property tax assessment reductions according to a sliding scale.

More than 300,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy and property owners continue to face tremendous challenges rebuilding. However, three months later, they are still faced with unknown factors including the full extent of the damage and whether or not they will receive financial assistance.

"Hurricane Sandy devastated New York. High repair and construction costs continue to plague home and business owners who should not be expected to pay taxes based on property assessments made prior to the storm," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The New York City Hurricane Sandy Assessment Relief Act will provide vital assistance to property taxpayers who have already suffered enormous losses."

In order for a property taxpayer to receive assessment relief in New York City, a written request for consideration must be submitted to the city Department of Finance, which would determine the percentage of lost value. Assessment changes would be subject to review by the City Tax Commission if requested by the property owner. The New York City Hurricane Sandy Relief Act must be adopted by New York City.

In areas outside of New York City, assessment changes are determined by the municipal tax assessor. The program can be adopted by counties, towns, cities, villages and school districts in an affected area.

"For property owners who have struggled with huge Sandy-related expenses and must pay full taxes on homes that are no longer there or no longer habitable, this is an impending financial disaster. This is a simple question of fairness," said Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), sponsor of the Hurricane Sandy Assessment Relief Act which applies to other areas in New York affected by the storm.

The assessment reduction for each measure would apply to property owners that lost at least 50 percent in assessed value as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Reductions would be assessed on a sliding scale: