While the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in Nassau County (as of this writing, the infection rate is at a relatively low 1 percent, with hospitalization and death rates stabilizing at very low levels), the pandemic’s negative economic effects are likely to drag on through the remainder of the year and into 2021. According to a report commissioned by the Nassau County and Suffolk County Industrial Development Agencies published in July, net job losses on Long Island have already reached 225,000 and may go as high as 375,000 by the end of the 2020, reducing economic activity by $61 billion.
Because Nassau County depends on sales tax revenue for about 40 percent of its income, this decline will force lawmakers to cut government services or raise taxes (unless Federal relief money is provided to fill the gap).
Where Does This Leave the Nassau County Homeowner?
The plight of individual Nassau County homeowners, beset by pandemic-induced economic losses while continuing to be obliged to pay the County’s traditionally high school and property taxes, has been eased somewhat by a series of extensions.
This past June, the County again extended the deadline for payment of the 2nd half 19/20 school taxes to July 1 (the original deadline was April 1), which provided some temporary relief. In July, the deadline for filing a Small Claims Assessment Review (“SCAR”) petition was extended to September 4th. Further, on August 7th, the County Executive issued Executive Order 95-20, which shifted a number of important deadlines, including the requirement that the 1st half 20/21 school taxes must be paid by November 10th (the new deadline is December 10th). Essentially, everything related to finalizing the 20/21 tax roll (including finishing up the SCAR cases) and then issuing the 1st half 20/21 tax bill — have now been extended one month.
These extensions are welcome and needed. Unfortunately, they only delay the moment when homeowners should expect to dig deeply into their wallets, irrespective of the degree to which COVID-19 has already drained them, to avoid falling into tax delinquency.
Homeowners Are Under Unprecedented Stress
According to Attom Data — a firm that tracks property data for more than 150 million American homes – the costs of home ownership in Nassau County now consume 63.4 percent of an average household’s wage income — a severe instance of “housing stress” (housing stress is traditionally defined as a condition where housing costs, including property taxes, insurance and mortgage costs, exceed 30 percent of a given household’s wage income).
While homeowners may appreciate the fact that home values in Nassau County haven’t declined– thanks in part to increased demand from home buyers fleeing New York City– high property sales could potentially increase tax assessments for these homes and others in close proximity.
Protecting the Home and Hearth
While the economic forecasts for Nassau County remain concerning, it’s important to remember how well the people of this County – including first responders, essential workers and individual citizens – responded to the COVID-19 crisis. While losing 2,194 neighbors and loved ones is a horrifying and devastating thing, the outcome would surely have been far worse had people not taken the threat seriously and acted accordingly. Let us hope that we will all continue to be vigilant in taking preventative precautions.
In the meantime, however, it’s clear that homeowners need to continue to perform their share of due diligence concerning their property valuations. As we’ve noted many times on this blog, the mere fact that Nassau County lists your property’s valuation at “X” may or may not indicate its actual market value. Like it or not, the burden is on you to make sure that this assessment agrees with reality. The wise thing to do is to file a grievance to protect your rights as a homeowner.
That’s where Maidenbaum can help. We’ll handle your property tax grievance speedily, effectively and with complete transparency, and we’ll only charge a fee if we can reduce your property tax liability. We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, are widely considered to be the best, most competent residential tax certiorari firm in Nassau County, and we’d like to inform you that you’ll be able to get started on signing up for the 22/23 tax year on or after September 1st, which is just a few weeks away.
If you’d like to know more about how a relationship with Maidenbaum may save you money, please contact us today via our website or by phone at 516-336-8622.