New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer announced that their legislation (A.10869/S.7677) allowing Municipal Tax Office staff to post local tax receipts online, was signed into law by Governor Paterson on Friday, August 13, 2010.
The new law allows municipal tax offices throughout the State to provide taxpayers with online receipts for the payment of local taxes. A number of municipalities have been allowing their taxpayers to pay their local taxes online but the municipal tax office staff could not provide electronic receipts for the payment of taxes because current law prohibited such action. This law amends the real property tax law so that official receipts can be posted electronically.
“Technology is advancing so rapidly that our laws are becoming antiquated,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “This law responds to today’s technology and the needs of our taxpayers.”
“This new law is part of my ongoing efforts to assist municipalities in lowering their costs and operating more efficiently,” said Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck). “By affording taxpayers the option to receive local tax receipts electronically, taxpayers benefit from more timely records-keeping, while municipalities save postage and printing costs.”
The payment of bills online is becoming the norm. Credit card companies, utilities, and telephone companies make customers’ usage and payment records available online. Municipalities, in increasing numbers across the State, are accepting tax payments online for various services, and in response, more and more taxpayers are taking advantage of the electronic option. The provision of online local tax receipts is an additional benefit to taxpayers, especially those who have been uneasy to pay taxes online without receiving an official receipt. Not only will this be convenient for taxpayers, but within a short time, municipalities who choose to offer receipts online will realize labor and office cost savings due to the reduction of staff time and elimination of postage, printing, and envelope expenses.
“This new law will be a great time saver, as well as money saver,” said Gloria Fried, Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Ossining. “The Town of Ossining has seen a constant increase in the number of taxpayers paying online since 2006 when we began offering an internet tax payment option. Having tax payment receipts available online will significantly reduce the amount of time the Tax Office spends answering phone calls and preparing receipts for taxpayers during income tax preparation time, and will encourage more people to pay this way. In addition, taxpayers will be able to access their records whenever they need to, even when our office is closed.”
Those taxpayers who prefer to pay their taxes in person or by postal mail can continue to do so. The new law has an “opt in” feature so that taxpayers may choose how they wish to receive their tax receipts, by paper or electronically.
“This law provides more government service while reducing costs,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “As Chair of the Real Property Taxation Committee, I am well aware of the tax burden on our residents and any action to save money, no matter what the amount, is critical in today’s times.”