Photo by Mary Hautman

If you pay taxes on a condo or co-op in this city, you may feel like you’re getting screwed. NYC has a bafflingly complicated property tax structure that’s inherently unfair to co-op and condo owners. And the city knows it.

Which is why they created the co-op and condo tax abatement. Taking advantage of this break can shave hundreds to thousands of dollars a year off of a condo owner or co-op shareholder’s tax bills. Here’s how.


It’s that time of year when Brooklynites can decide how their tax dollars will be spent by attending participatory budgeting meetings on transit, parks, arts and education. Councilmember Brad Lander’s office has organized five meetings between now and the end of the month, to which anyone can come and suggest projects that deserve funding in the 39th Council District. (Here’s a map of the district, which encompasses Columbia Street Waterfront, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Kensington, Ditmas Park, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Park, Windsor Terrace and Borough Park.)

Projects funded by the last round of budgeting included laptop carts for elementary school students, street safety improvements on 4th Avenue, a green roof at the Windsor Terrace Library (pictured) and an outdoor plaza at the John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope. Click through to see the schedule and how to RSVP.


Mayor elect Bill de Blasio hopes to spur development on vacant lots in the outer boroughs with a new tax on them, Crain’s reported. After a five-year phase-in period, taxes would rise every year on empty land by about $15,300 a year. De Blasio estimates the new tax will raise about $162 million every year — and the money will go toward building affordable housing.

The story speculated that the tax could actually inhibit development by making it difficult for developers to assemble large lots on which to build. The story also quoted a developer who said empty lots in low income neighborhoods attract crime, vermin and garbage and lower surrounding property values. Above, a lot on Broadway between Decatur and Rockaway in Bed Stuy that once contained commercial buildings and has probably been empty since fires devastated this area in the 1970s.

A similar policy is already in effect in Manhattan, where empty lots are taxed at higher commercial rates rather than at one-family rates.

Do you think the tax is a good idea in Brooklyn or would it be better to do something about empty and deteriorating buildings and leave the green spaces alone?

De Blasio Tells Lot Owners to Put up or Pay Up [Crain’s]
Photo by Google Maps


That giant whooshing sound you just heard was the collective sigh of relief from middle-class condo and co-op owners around the city who are now likely to be spared a big jump in taxes when the New York State legislature returns for a special session towards the end of the year; lawmakers had been unable to squeeze in legislation at the end of the regular session in June to prevent a scheduled tax increase (or, technically, the expiration of abatements) on condo and co-op owners. The new legislation would block the increase on units which are used as primary residences. Even thought the city has just sent out tax bills based on the new higher rates, if the State passes the reduction by the end of the year, the lower rates will be retroactive.
Albany to Address Co-op and Condo Tax Break [NY Times]


NYU’s Furman Center just released its 10th annual State of the City’s Housing & Neighborhoods report, and the big thing that’s highlighted is as follows: “According to the Furman Center’s analysis, the effective property tax rate differs considerably across different property types. One- to three-family homes are taxed at the lowest effective tax rate. Other classes of properties, which include large rental buildings and commercial/industrial properties, are taxed at much higher rates: the effective tax rate for larger rental buildings is five times the rate for one- to three-family homes. Condominiums and cooperative apartments also are subject to much lower effective tax rates than rental properties with similar characteristics. ‘As a result of the strong preference shown to homeowners at the expense of large rental properties, New York City imposes one of the highest tax burdens on apartment buildings of any large city in the country,” said Vicki Been, director of the Furman Center. “Conversely, the tax on one- to three-family homes is one of the lowest in the country.'” The full report is here.
State of the City’s Housing & Neighborhoods [Furman Center]


Property taxes will rise for all residential and commercial properties for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, according to a tentative assessment released by the city’s Department of Finance on Friday. According to the city, the total market value of property in the city, including new construction rose 0.12% to $796 billion. New York state requires the city to tax property based on a percentage of market value, known as assessed value. Assessed values can continue to rise even if market values decline. — Crain’s