Surrounded by dozens of tax office staffers, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin recounted the almost 20,000 concerned taxpayers who were served by his office during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve as homeowners scrambled to prepay their 2018 property taxes ahead of the January 1st deadline when the new federal tax code would take effect. The property owners mobilized to “beat the clock” on the new code in order to be able to deduct the 2018 property tax payments on 2017 income tax returns before the federal government imposed a $10,000 cap on deductions. As a result of the efforts of Clavin’s staff, Hempstead Town residents will deduct $118,047,794 in 2018 prepaid property taxes on their 2017 income tax returns. Celebrating the effort of his staff, the Receiver presented tax office workers with a 4-foot tall trophy, replete with a “piggy bank” topper, to commemorate the income tax savings that his team of government employees helped to facilitate for town homeowners. Joining Clavin and office personnel at a celebration was Hempstead Town CSEA Local 880 President Charles Sellitto and a taxpayer who took advantage of the program which has allowed her to deduct prepaid property taxes.
“When property owners were desperately seeking relief from the overwhelmingly negative consequences of the newly minted federal tax code, Hempstead Town workers in the Receiver’s Office threw out a lifeline to homeowners,” stated Clavin. “Municipal employees at the tax office worked overtime, came to the office on weekends, canceled planned vacation days, skipped lunch breaks and went the extra mile to help taxpayers prepay their 2018 property taxes so they could deduct the payments on 2017 income tax returns. Because of their efforts, over 20,000 taxpayers will deduct almost $120 million on their income taxes. I am proud to present my staff with a trophy for their Herculean efforts on behalf of Hempstead Town taxpayers.”
Indeed, Clavin’s office staff opened the doors to the Receiver’s Office between the hours of 8 a.m. through 6 p.m., commencing the day after Christmas and continuing each weekday through December 29th. What’s more, the Receiver’s Office took the unprecedented step of opening the office for payments on a weekend; Saturday, December 30th and New Year’s Eve, Sunday, December 31st. Finally, tax office staffers and other town personnel worked during the weekend before Christmas to prepare property tax data in response to a Governor’s Executive Order that directed local Receivers to accept the prepayment of certain 2018 property taxes.
“Town of Hempstead workers are the finest employees anywhere,” exclaimed Clavin. “They are caring, dedicated and embody the true spirit of the phrase ‘public service.’”
Clavin’s office was flooded with a stream of homeowners looking to prepay taxes on the day after Christmas. In fact, over 1,000 property owners lined up at the tax office in frigid temperatures to prepay taxes, ask questions and receive information on the prepayment of property taxes.
December 27th saw a line of over 2,000 property owners wrapped around the block surrounding the Receiver’s Office. Clavin capped off a frenetic week of tax office assistance to residents by hosting a New Year’s Eve session of tax collections, replete with coffee and donuts instead of the more traditional New Year’s Eve fare of champagne and noisemakers.
“I never thought I would be spending New Year’s Eve at the tax office,” stated Clavin. “However, it was a really rewarding experience to be able to help taxpayers during a very difficult time.”
“I was proud of the men and women who work in the Receiver’s Office, along with other town employees, who responded in a selfless and dedicated manner for the benefit of our taxpayers,” said Sellitto. “I am happy to join with Don Clavin in saluting the members of his staff who made a ‘Happy New Year’ a reality for many homeowners.”
The Receiver presented the trophy to his staff and closed the celebration by saying, “I couldn’t pick a better group of people with whom to work. They have made a tremendous and positive contribution to our residents, helping them to be able to deduct $120 million in 2018 property taxes on their 2017 income tax returns. Congratulations!”