Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll today called for the extension of the 2021 first-half General Tax payment deadline as residents of America’s largest township continue to deal with the economic and health hardships brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Coronavirus infection rates continue to rise on Long Island, the Supervisor and Receiver have sent a letter to the Governor to request a one-month extension to the first-half General tax payment deadline, without penalty, from February 10, 2021 to March 10, 2021.
What’s more, the Supervisor and Receiver pointed to the quick turnaround of the state’s most recent extension of the first-half school property tax bill deadline, from November 10, 2020 to December 10, 2020. In that period, the school tax bills were affected by the County Assessor’s late and defective tax roll, as well as thousands of admitted errors. In addition, more than 60 percent of county taxpayers were reported to be hit with increases to their 2020-2021 school tax bills as a result of the County Executive’s reassessment.
“As the calendar turned to 2021 after a year marred by the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, the unfortunate reality is that the pandemic did not end at 12 a.m. on January 1st,” Clavin said. “Extensions were granted for the payment of property taxes in 2020 to provide additional time for struggling homeowners, and we are asking for the same for the 2021 first-half General tax bill as the pandemic continues to take a toll on families.”
“Many taxpayers find themselves facing serious economic and job losses, while also contending with health concerns, and they need all the help they can get during this pandemic,” Driscoll said. “We just recently completed the first-half school tax payment period, which was tarnished by the County Assessor’s errors, and amplified by the thousands of homeowners who saw drastic increases in their taxes due to the County Executive’s Reassessment. Combine that with the impact on the physical and economic health of our residents, we certainly believe that a one-month extension to the 2021 first-half General tax will certainly provide some relief.”
Driscoll said that her office receives hundreds of emails, calls and letters daily from taxpayers who are unable to make payments due to their sudden loss of employment, shuttered businesses or other economic and health reasons due to the pandemic. The Receiver reported there was about a 40 percent increase in taxpayers who could not pay their tax bills during the most recent school tax payment cycle.
Additionally, Driscoll said that the County Assessor once again submitted a delayed tax roll to the Receiver’s office, late in the day on December 30th, approximately only 36 hours before the commencement of the general tax bill payment cycle on January 1st. As Driscoll’s office analyzed the tax roll and awaited the certification of the tax warrant through the New Year’s holiday weekend, the Receiver stood firm with the request to grant taxpayers more time for the payment cycle.
“While our office is working hard to issue bills in a timely matter despite the County Assessor’s delays, I sincerely believe that a payment deadline extension is appropriate for homeowners during this pandemic,” Driscoll said. “We will continue to provide taxpayers with convenient and safe payment options, including drive-thru and walk-up booths, and are here to answer any questions or concerns.”
“Taxpayers just recently paid the extended first-half school tax bill, and many of them were shocked to see increases as a result of the County Executive’s reassessment,” Clavin said. “Combined with the continued errors and delays by the County Executive’s handpicked Assessor and the ongoing effects of the pandemic, an extension to the first-half General tax deadline is not just warranted, it is the right thing to do.”
“A one month extension to the general tax bill would help tremendously,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby. “It helped with the school tax bills, now let’s keep it consistent.”
“Extending the deadline for the first-half general tax is the right thing to do,” said Councilman Bruce Blakeman. “Now is not the time to be hitting residents with back-to-back tax bills.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic did not end with the year 2020,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “We need to do everything in our power to aid residents while we all continue to battle this deadly virus.”
“The county’s reassessment has directly burdened a great number of homeowners with rising taxes,” said Councilman Dennis Dunne. “A 30-day extension would provide a breath of relief for our hardworking homeowners.”
“There are plenty of homeowners still struggling from the devastating repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Councilman Thomas Muscarella. “It’s only fair to allow some extra time before hitting homeowners with another tax deadline.”
“This would be the perfect opportunity to start 2021 on the right foot,” said Councilman Christopher Carini. “A brief 30 days of respite will go a long way to help the residents of America’s largest township.”
Starting on January 11th, Receiver Driscoll will be hosting a series of taxpayer forums with limited seating and RSVP requirements due to COVID-19 health requirements. Visit https://hempsteadny.gov/taxpayer-forums for more information. The series will focus on providing homeowners with important information and resources on how to challenge their property tax assessments and lower their tax bills.