Category Archives: Don Clavin

Clavin Declares Victory as Nassau Assessor Reverses Plan to Halt Mailing Property Value Notices to Homeowners

Declaring victory for government transparency and local homeowners, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin announced that Nassau’s Assessment Department has reversed its plan to halt mailing Nassau neighbors’ property value notices, the foundation upon which residents’ taxes are based, after the Receiver and angry senior citizens assailed the county’s policy decision. Additionally, Clavin thanked the Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello for drafting legislation that will mandate that the “Notices of Tentative Assessment” continue to be mailed to property owners. The Assessment Department’s poorly thought-out scheme to cancel mailing home values would have forced homeowners to seek the data on the Internet, creating a significant hardship for many senior citizens, the economically disadvantaged and others who lack access to computers and on-line service. Joining Clavin at the press announcement were Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, Legislator Laura Schaefer and a group of grateful senior citizens from Wantagh.

 

“Nassau’s assessment system is broken, and the only thing worse than a dysfunctional tax system is trying to keep homeowners’ property values a secret,” said Clavin. “I am happy that the Nassau Assessment Department has reconsidered its plan to halt the mailing of homeowners’ property values to Nassau residents. This is a victory for government transparency. I want to also thank Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello and the majority legislators for crafting legislation that will mandate the mailing of ‘Notices of Tentative Assessed Value.’”

 

On June 1, 2018, Clavin mailed the Acting Nassau County Assessor, demanding that his department abandon a plan to curtail the long-standing practice of mailing residents an annual Notice of Tentative Assessed Value. The Receiver observed that the scheme to restrict access to property value information to the Assessment Department’s website would place senior citizens, those with limited incomes and others without Internet access at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to making important decisions based on home values. Further, Clavin said that the maneuver, which would only continue mailing tax assessment updates to those who made written requests through the U.S. Postal Service, would be a serious defeat for transparency and accountability, thereby further eroding trust and confidence in the county’s much maligned assessment system. Finally, Clavin called the timing of the effort “totally misguided” as Nassau’s Assessment Department is poised to embark on a major property tax assessment revaluation project.

 

Almost immediately, Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello and Legislator Laura Schaefer responded to Clavin’s call for action. The legislative duo has drafted legislation that will mandate the mailing of the Notices of Tentative Assessed Value to the county’s property owners, leaving no discretion to the county’s Assessment Department on the matter.

 

“I want to thank Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin for bringing this issue to everyone’s attention,” said Nicolello. “I am proud that we can help Nassau homeowners by crafting legislation that will mandate the continued mailing of crucial home value data to Nassau homeowners. Our neighbors deserve unrestricted access to this information in the interest of government transparency and accountability.”

 

“I was pleased to stand with Don Clavin and senior citizens on June 1st to demand that the Nassau County Assessment Department provide complete transparency on its assessment of residents’ properties,” stated Schaefer. “Mailing property value information to homeowners is the right thing to do. Access to home values is critical to making important decisions on issues such as challenging property tax assessments.”

 

The Receiver and several seniors noted that most residents were unaware of the Nassau Assessment Department’s plan to curtail the mailing of the home value notices. Clavin said that this fact came as no surprise to him since the information regarding the termination of mailed assessment valuation notices was “buried” in the January 2018 Tentative Assessed Value notification. In fact, the words “…the Department of Assessment will no longer produce mail Notices of Tentative Assessed Value…” were buried in a 400-word document in which residents were solely focused on information concerning their latest “tentative assessed value.”

 

While the “seemingly secret” notification that the mailing of home values would be discontinued resulted in significant frustration, the “taxpayer-unfriendly” method of dealing with exceptions to the new policy was equally exasperating. The County Assessor didn’t advise readers to whom their requests to continue receiving assessment value notices by mail should be addressed. It also failed to offer convenient alternatives, such as Internet or phone-based options, to request the maintenance of Notices of Tentative Assessed Value by U.S. Mail.

 

“I strongly believe that the county Assessment Department’s decision to halt the mailing of home values to residents and the complicated and difficult steps required to receive an exception to this policy were part of an intentional effort to limit access to information,” said Clavin. “It would have especially hurt our most vulnerable residents the hardest—senior citizens, the poor and others without Internet access. Thankfully, Rich Nicolello has taken steps to ensure that the County Assessor will never again be able to restrict access to property value information for Nassau homeowners.”

 

“As Nassau County embarks upon a major property revaluation, it’s more important than ever that homeowners have greater access, not less, when it comes to their property values,” concluded Clavin. “By working together, we can enhance government transparency, openness and accountability.”

 

Visit Receiver Clavin’s webpage

Clavin Calls On County Assessor To Be Transparent On Home Values

Tells Nassau, “Don’t Stop Mailing Assessments To Homeowners”; Plan Penalizes Seniors, The Poor & Others Without Internet Access

 

“Keeping homeowners informed about property assessments is the foundation of a transparent, accountable and forthright property tax system,” announced Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin as he called upon Nassau County’s Acting Assessor to abandon a plan to curtail the long-standing practice of mailing residents an annual Notice of Tentative Assessed Value. Clavin, who was joined by Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer and a group of annoyed senior citizens at a media briefing, stated that the scheme to restrict access to property value information to the Assessment Department’s website would place senior citizens, those with limited incomes and others without Internet access at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to making important decisions based on home values. Further, Clavin says that the maneuver, which would only continue mailing tax assessment updates to those who made written requests through the U.S. Postal Service, would be a serious defeat for transparency and accountability, thereby further eroding trust and confidence in the county’s much maligned assessment system. Finally, Clavin called the timing of the effort “totally misguided” as Nassau’s Assessment Department is poised to embark on a major property tax assessment revaluation project.

 

“Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Nassau County taxpayers regarding the Assessment Department’s chronically broken reassessment system, the county is planning to halt the mailing of Notices of Tentative Assessed Values to homeowners,” stated Clavin. “What’s worse, the overwhelming majority of property owners have no idea that the Assessment Department has this taxpayer-hostile initiative up its sleeve. I have written to Nassau County’s Acting Assessor and have strongly urged him to reverse the plan to curtail the mailing of important property value information to residents.

 

During the press briefing on the “assessed value notification” issue, Clavin recounted his experiences with local taxpayers to underscore the need for more information and better communication on the part of the Nassau County Department of Assessment. The Receiver detailed his practice at tax forums of asking property owners if they were aware of the County Assessor’s plan to stop mailing the updated annual assessment information on their homes. In response to his inquiries, Clavin indicated that virtually nobody in attendance was aware of this fact. What’s more, the overwhelming majority were not aware that they received notification. Clavin said that these facts came as no surprise to him since the information regarding the termination of mailed assessment valuation notices was “buried” in the January 2018 Tentative Assessed Value notification. In fact, the words “…the Department of Assessment will no longer produce mail Notices of Tentative Assessed Value…” were buried in a 400-word document in which residents were solely focused on information concerning their latest “tentative assessed value.”

 

“The Nassau Department of Assessment needs to do much more to communicate its intention to stop mailing ‘Notices of Tentative Assessed Value’ to homeowners,” stated the Receiver. “Residents are unaware of the plan, and offering more information, not less, is critical if the County Assessor hopes to restore any trust in its troubled assessment system.”

 

“Unfortunately, the Assessment Department did not advise the County Legislature of its plan to halt the mailing of important property value data to Nassau’s residents,” stated Schaefer. “In support of transparency and accountability, I am calling upon the County’s Acting Assessor to continue mailing this information to homeowners.”

 

The Receiver is also concerned over the Assessment Department’s methodology in curtailing Tentative Assessed Value mailings to homeowners. While the predominant business model and government practice with respect to “opting-out” of mailings involves customers and/or taxpayers making an affirmative request to go paperless, the County Assessor is simply cutting taxpayers off from mailed communication unless the taxpayer specifically requests to continue receiving mailed notifications in writing via U.S. Mail. Indeed, the Receiver’s new e-Billing initiative allows taxpayers to affirmatively “opt-out” of mailed notifications, selecting to receive personalized email notifications.

 

“Nobody else in business, government or industry merely curtails the mailing of important notices to customers,” stated Clavin. “Businesses, public utilities and governments all give the customer the courtesy of requesting that they formally take action to switch from ‘snail mail’ to email. Sadly, the county’s Assessment Department is not even replacing its U.S. Mail notification with emails.”

 

In fact, the obscure “mail cancellation” notification that was provided to residents in January of 2018 did not advise readers to whom their requests to continue receiving assessment value notices by mail should be addressed. It also failed to offer convenient alternatives, such as Internet or phone-based options, to request the maintenance of Notices of Tentative Assessed Value by U.S. Mail. And, residents will have to navigate an arcane website to access their Notices of Tentative Assessed Value rather than receiving an email. Clavin contends that the “user-unfriendly” steps required to continue receiving U.S. Mail assessment information, coupled with the lack of comprehensive public notification, appears to be a conscious effort to limit access to information, and he indicated that it will especially hurt senior citizens, the economically disadvantaged and others without Internet access.

 

“One can only conclude that this entire initiative was done purposefully in an effort to limit access to information that homeowners need and deserve,” said Clavin. “This maneuver will hit the most vulnerable the hardest—senior citizens, the poor and others without Internet access. This is a cruel and unwelcome initiative.”

 

Clavin said that the timing of the plan to curtail mailed Notices of Tentative Assessed Value could not be worse, considering the county’s new property tax assessment revaluation project is about to commence.

 

“As Nassau County embarks upon its new revaluation update, it is more important than ever to restore confidence and trust in Nassau’s assessment system,” said Clavin. “Limiting access to assessed values does just the opposite. I am calling upon Nassau’s Acting Assessor to please restore mailed Notices of Tentative Assessed Values, allowing those who choose to ‘go paperless’ the ability to expressly take steps to ‘opt-out’ of mail notification.”

 

“Let’s work together to enhance government transparency, openness and accountability,” concluded the Receiver. “By restoring mailed Notices of Tentative Assessed Values, alongside a comprehensive property revaluation project, we can earn the public’s trust and gain their confidence.”

 

Visit Receiver Clavin’s webpage

Clavin To Host First-Time Homebuyer Seminars

Learn About Mortgages, Taxes, Inspections & More

 

Buying your first home can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. However, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is about to make the experience much simpler and less scary. Joined by financial expert Anthony Genova, who boasts almost 15 years of experience in presenting first-time homebuyer programs with a major international financial institution, Clavin will explain “need-to-know” information on mortgages, property taxes, home inspections, tax exemptions the new federal tax code and more.

 

“The purchase of a first home represents the accomplishment of a major life goal for many,” stated Clavin. “At the same time, the process can be intricate, presenting financial, legal and other hurdles. Accordingly, our seminars will provide answers to common questions, offer valuable information, help purchasers avoid common pitfalls and possibly even save purchasers money as they acquire their first residence.”

 

One of the most common areas of concern that has developed for first-time homebuyers centers around the new federal tax code and how it will impact them, especially with regard to the code’s limits on the deductibility of property tax payments on income tax returns. Other areas that will be addressed at the First-time Homebuyer Seminars include mortgages, inspections, title insurance, contracts, tax payment information/options and closings. Those in attendance will also obtain details on their eligibility for tax exemptions, tax information, tips on how to challenge home assessments and information on local governments, including the town, county and school districts.

 

Clavin announced that it is a great time to purchase a home with mortgage rates still at reasonable levels. Also, the Receiver noted that many homeowners are looking to purchase now as home prices are on the rise. In fact, the closing price for homes in Nassau County has risen by 8 percent year-over-year as of March, according to MSLI (Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc.).

 

“I am happy to partner with Don Clavin to make the home purchasing experience more rewarding and less challenging for first-time homebuyers,” stated Genova. “Helping purchasers navigate this process is rewarding, and we are offering valuable information that will help people avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes as they establish their first home.”

 

The seminars will be held on the following dates:

  • May 14th, 7 p.m., Uniondale Public Library (400 Uniondale Ave., Uniondale)
  • May 16th, 7 p.m., Elmont Public Library (700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont)
  • May 18th, 7 p.m., Valley Stream Village Hall (123 S. Central Ave., Valley Stream)
  • June 11th, 7 p.m., Oceanside Library (30 Davison Ave., Oceanside)
  • June 13th, 7 p.m., Merrick Library (2279 Merrick Ave., Merrick)
  • June 14th, 7 p.m., Levittown Public Library (1 Bluegrass La., Levittown)

 

For more information on the upcoming seminars, please call the Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Office at (516) 538-1500.

 

“Welcome to America’s largest township to all of our first-time homebuyers,” concluded Clavin. “By attending one of these informative seminars, you will be taking a great first step in becoming a member of our township’s family of property owners.”

 

Visit Receiver of Taxes Clavin’s webpage

Second Half School Tax Deadline Approaches, Clavin Offers Convenient Payment Options

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is reminding taxpayers of the array of convenient payment options available to them as the May 10th deadline approaches to pay the Second Half 2017-18 School Tax. Beginning on May 1st through May 10th, Clavin is extending office hours, setting up mobile and satellite offices throughout the Town of Hempstead and opening the Tax Office’s EZ-Pay Drive-Thru. What’s more, taxpayers also have the option to pay their bills online at any time.

 

“Paying your taxes may not be fun, but we work hard to make the process as convenient as possible for our taxpayers,” Clavin said. “When the deadline approaches, we try to help those with busy schedules by extending hours and opening our drive thru at our Hempstead Tax Office, reminding the public of our online payment system and bringing our mobile and satellite offices to communities across America’s largest township.”

 

On business days between May 1st and May 10th (May 1st , 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th), extended hours of operation (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will be in effect for tax payments at the main tax office located at 200 North Franklin Street in Hempstead. When making payments in person, please bring the entire tax bill; do not detach payment stubs from the bill.

 

In addition, the EZ-Pay Drive Thru Payment Window will be open behind the main tax office (follow the signs on the corner of North Franklin and Bedell Streets) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (May 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th). The Drive-Thru Window accepts only check and money order payments.

 

Satellite offices at Rock Hall Museum (199 Broadway, Lawrence) and Levittown Hall (201 Levittown Parkway, Hicksville) serve communities that are a distance from the Tax Office. Satellite offices will be open to receive checks and money orders for tax payments from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th.

 

The Mobile Tax Office is scheduled to visit four locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please note that only checks or money orders are accepted at the Mobile Tax Office. The Mobile Tax Office locations and dates are:

 

May 1st – Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Rd., Merrick

May 2nd – Town Parking Lot O-3, Davison Ave., Oceanside (directly across from Oceanside Library)

May 3rd – Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont

May 4th – Franklin Square Senior Center, 1182 Martha Pl., Franklin Square

 

Online tax payments may be made via credit card or e-check by logging onto the town’s website at www.TOH.LI and following the “Receiver of Taxes” link to “Online Tax Payments”. Credit card and e-check payments can also be made by phone by calling 1-833-378-1236. Payment by credit card will incur a 2.3 % service fee, with a minimum charge of $1.50 for all credit card transactions. A flat fee of $0.90 will be charged for electronic check payments. VISA Personal Debit transactions will incur a flat rate fee of $3.95 per transaction. Hempstead Town receives no portion of these service fees which are charged by eGov Strategies, the company which processes the transactions.

 

While on the Town of Hempstead website, taxpayers can register for e-Billing, and sign up to receive future tax bills electronically via email instead of through the U.S. Mail. Recently implemented, the e-Billing service will allow taxpayers to go “paperless” and receive their tax bills electronically, while saving the town production and mailing costs associated with traditional tax bills. Visit bit.ly/tohebill to register.

 

“By offering convenient payment options, whether online or in-person, we’re dedicated to providing top-notch services for our constituents,” Clavin said.

 

For event announcements and important updates, follow the Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@tohreceiver). For further information, please visit the town’s website at www.toh.li/tohtax or call the Office of Receiver of Taxes at (516) 538-1500.

 

Visit Receiver of Taxes Clavin’s webpage

Clavin, Miller Propose Enhanced Property Tax Break for ‘Handicapable’ Home Improvements

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and State Assemblywoman Missy Miller have announced a state legislative proposal that would enhance a property tax break for property owners who make home improvements to their houses to accommodate family members and other household occupants with physical challenges or handicapping conditions, as well as those who are legally blind. The officials discussed the exemption at Miller’s home, along with her son Oliver, who confronts physical challenges and is blind.

 

“The costs of making home improvements and renovations can be significant,” observed Clavin. “Those costs can be dramatically higher when highly specialized improvements and renovations are required in order to accommodate people with physical challenges. It is incumbent on government to do its part to assist taxpayers who confront these substantial costs, and an enhanced property tax exemption for those improvements is one way in which we can help. I want to thank Assemblywoman Missy Miller for sponsoring legislation on this issue in Albany.”

 

The legislation that Clavin and Miller are looking to amend is known as the “Home Improvement Tax Reduction for the Physically Disabled” exemption. The law currently permits cities, villages, towns, counties and school districts to offer a partial property tax exemption to eligible property owners of one-, two- or three-family homes who make qualifying home improvements. The amendment would expand the exemption, which applies to renovations that facilitate and accommodate the use or accessibility of the house, to include special district taxes. Some special districts that would be able to “opt in” on the expanded exemption include water districts, sanitation districts, library districts and fire districts, among others.

 

“The cost of home renovations required to accommodate people with physical challenges can be staggering,” said Miller. “It’s time to expand this exemption to include special district taxes so that families confronting renovation costs to make their homes more accessible can receive the maximum property tax relief possible.”

 

Under the law, the full value of the qualifying home improvements is exempt from property taxes for participating governmental jurisdictions (cities, towns, counties, schools, villages). Adding special districts to the taxing jurisdictions that could “opt in” on the exemption could result in no assessment increases for property tax purposes on home improvements designed to accommodate house occupants who have physical challenges.

 

Clavin called prospective additional tax savings significant for affected homeowners under the legislation. Currently, 144 Hempstead Town homeowners receive the Home Improvement Tax Reduction for the Physically Disabled exemption. A typical home in the town could witness additional savings of over $650 or 25 percent on its General Tax bill by adding special districts to the local government entities that participate in the exemption program. The current total tax savings to homeowners under the program is $252,342. The additional maximum tax cost exposure to special districts if the program is expanded amounts to $51,282.

 

“The potential savings we are talking about are genuine and significant,” observed Clavin. Added Miller, “This could mean the difference between being able to make an important home improvement or not for the benefit of a physically challenged family member.”

 

Clavin observed that his inspiration for coming up with the tax break proposal was the Assemblywoman’s son, Oliver. Oliver has defied the odds in his battle against the ravages of a traumatic brain injury, physical challenges, blindness, cognitive disabilities and a host of medical issues. Oliver also motivated Miller to successfully lobby the state Senate and Assembly for legislation that provided her son and thousands of others access to medical marijuana.

 

“Oliver, along with his mother Missy, was my inspiration in developing this proposal,” stated Clavin. “They are both compelling figures, and they have inspired me to come up with a proposal that will ease the financial burdens of families coping with the enormous expenses associated with specialized home improvements for people with physical challenges.”

 

The officials noted that the expansion of this exemption would only minimally impact the local tax base as it would not significantly reduce existing assessments/property taxes for affected homes. Rather, the legislation would primarily shield new improvements from increased assessments/taxes for eligible properties.

 

“This exemption will help people with physical challenges while having minimal impact on the existing tax base,” stated Clavin. “It is a ‘win-win’ measure for persons with disabilities and our communities as a whole.”

 

The types of home improvements or renovations that typically qualify for this exemption include the removal of architectural barriers, complete house accessibility renovations, new rooms, additions, elevators, kitchen and bathroom renovations that facilitate or accommodate accessibility, access ramps, entry and egress upgrades, automated doors, among other home improvements.

 

The costs associated with removing physical barriers at the home are substantial. For example, the average hydraulic or pneumatic home elevator can cost over $30,000 (including installation and related structural alterations). Additionally, kitchen and bathroom renovations necessary for handicapped accessibility can total $40,000 according to fixr.com. Further, the cost of home additions can far exceed $120,000, according to the town’s Building Department.

 

“It’s clear that we need to take legislative action and enhance this valuable property tax exemption for people with physical challenges,” stated Miller. “We need to take a strong stand to help people who are burdened with costs associated with making their homes accessible for family members with special requirements.”

 

The Home Improvement Tax Reduction for the Physically Disabled applies to persons who have a permanent physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such individual’s major life activities. It also applies to individuals who have obtained a certificate from the New York State Commission for the Blind stating that such individual is legally blind.

 

“I want to thank Assemblywoman Missy Miller for leading this fight to enhance an important property tax break for people with physical challenges,” concluded Clavin. “The costs of upgrading a home to accommodate persons with disabilities have soared, and we need to amend our state legislation to provide needed tax relief.”

 

Visit Receiver of Taxes Clavin’s webpage

Veterans Property Tax Exemption Update, G.I. Educational Benefit Briefings

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin will host two important programs for veterans and their families. At his Veterans Property Tax Exemption Update and G.I. Educational Benefit Briefing, the Receiver will discuss recent legislation that he proposed, which makes a temporary veterans exemption permanent. In addition, our town’s Veterans Benefits Counselor will be on hand to discuss G.I. educational benefits and other benefits available to veterans. These events are free. For more information, please call Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin at (516) 538-1500.

 

Wednesday, April 18th – 7 PM
Levittown Hall, 201 Levittown Parkway, Hicksville

 

Wednesday, April 25th- 7 PM
Hempstead Town Hall, Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead

 

Visit Receiver of Taxes Clavin’s webpage

Clavin & Council Members Fight to Protect Cold War Veterans Exemption

Receiver Crafts Legislation, Proposes Permanent Property Tax Break

 

As the clock ticks on a key property tax break for Cold War-era veterans, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., along with the Hempstead Town Board’s other councilmembers, have announced their support for a measure that would extend the important exemption for these heroic homeowners living in America’s largest township. Clavin crafted the legislation, which would eliminate a 10-year “sunset” clause for the exemption, and make permanent the property tax break for Cold War-era veterans. Clavin asked for King Sweeney and Dunne to sponsor the bill at an upcoming Town Board meeting. Also joining Clavin at a press conference on the proposal were Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Ed Ambrosino, Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.

 

Clavin and the councilmembers joined with local veterans at the Levittown VFW Post No. 9592 to voice their support for the legislation that would eliminate the 10-year “sunset” provision that applies to the Cold War Veteran property tax break, which provides for up to a 15 percent reduction for eligible recipients.

 

New York State law had limited the Cold War Veterans Exemption to 10 years, until Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation authorizing local jurisdictions to grant the exemption permanently as long as the veteran or the unremarried surviving spouse remains a homeowner. Currently, there are 1,500 recipients of the Cold War Veterans Exemption in the Town of Hempstead.

 

“When it comes to showing our appreciation for American heroes, there is no expiration date,” Clavin said. “That’s why it’s crucial that our Town Board acts now to protect this key property tax break for homeowners who bravely served our nation during the Cold War era.”

 

“The veterans of the Cold War era are heroes who protected our nation during a critical period in our nation’s history,” King Sweeney said. “We want them to know that their efforts are not forgotten in Hempstead Town, and we’re here today to give our support to protecting this well-deserved tax break.”

 

In addition to his “call of duty” as town councilman, Dunne is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps who served during the Vietnam War. He also serves as president of the Levittown/Island Trees Veterans Council.

 

“Our Cold War veterans deserve to be treated with the same respect as those who served in other major American military operations,” Dunne said. “By providing them with this important exemption, we’re saluting our township’s brave men and women for protecting our nation and our freedoms during the Cold War.”

 

The Cold War Veterans Exemption was originally passed by the Town of Hempstead in April of 2008. Without legislation to extend the property tax break, recipients of the Cold War Veterans Tax exemption would lose it after a 10-year period.

 

“Our veterans deserve every benefit that we can afford them in recognition of their selfless service to our nation,” said Goosby. Added Ambrosino, “My dad was a proud veteran, and this legislation would pay tribute to his memory while providing real tax relief to our veteran homeowners.”

 

“I am devoted to all of our veterans who, just like my dad, put the safety and freedom of our residents ahead of their own safety,” stated Blakeman. “When it comes to supporting our veterans and providing them with important tax benefits, I will always be a strong and vocal advocate,” added D’Esposito.

 

Veterans who could be eligible for the tax break include those who served in active military, naval or air service of the United States between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991 and their surviving spouses who have not remarried and maintain their primary residences within the Town of Hempstead.

 

For full eligibility requirements and an application, call the Nassau County Department of Assessment at (516) 571-1500. Applications and instructions can also be attained at the Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes webpage at https://toh.li/tax-exemptions/veterans.

 

“Look forward to permanently enacting this critically important exemption, with all of my colleagues, for Cold War era veterans who own a home,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us – as a town – to serve our veterans, just as they have served our nation.”

 

King Sweeney and Dunne announced that they will present the legislation at the next Town Board meeting on February 20th and call for a vote on a public hearing to be scheduled for the March 6th session.

 

“We are keeping our Cold War-era veterans in mind as many are struggling to make ends meet while maintaining their lives and homes here on Long Island,” King Sweeney said. “I want to thank our Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin for being proactive and presenting this critical piece of legislation to assist our Cold War veterans who live in the Town of Hempstead,” Dunne added.

 

“I’m proud to be joined today by our veterans to announce this important legislation to extend an important benefit to hundreds of Cold War veterans across America’s largest township,” Clavin said. “I am confident our Town Board will support this crucial bill that could make permanent this property tax exemption for our veterans.”

 

Visit Receiver of Taxes Clavin’s webpage

Clavin Helps Residents Who Prepaid 2018 Property Taxes Avoid Getting Double Billed by Their Mortgage Company

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is urging residents who prepaid their 2018 property taxes and normally pay through mortgage escrow accounts to contact their mortgage servicer immediately to assure that their accounts are reconciled and up to date to reflect the most recent tax payments. Most importantly, Clavin pressed homeowners to act in order to make sure that they are not double billed or impacted by costly bank errors.

 

The Receiver explained that residents who notify their mortgage providers about their tax prepayment will learn how to ensure that their accounts and monthly payments are accurate and up to date, while protecting themselves from the prospect of being overbilled or making unnecessary payments.

 

“If you contact your mortgage provider as soon as possible to inform them of your tax prepayment, you’re doing yourself a favor by preventing potential issues such as double billing or other errors related to your account,” Clavin said. “By taking the initiative to reconcile your account with your financial institution, you will save yourself headaches down the road.”

 

Nearly 10,000 residents rushed to the Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes office to prepay their property taxes before December 31, 2017. When the Governor’s Executive Order – issued the Friday before Christmas Day – directed localities to accommodate the prepayment of 2018 property taxes, taxpayers had very little time to act. The Governor’s Order was issued in response to the overhaul of the federal tax code, which imposes a $10,000 cap on the deduction of property taxes and other expenses starting in 2018. By prepaying April 2018 school taxes and/or 2018 general taxes by December 31, 2017, people could potentially deduct the payments from their 2017 tax returns (property owners must meet eligibility requirements).

 

Clavin responded to the Governor’s Order by opening the office for extended and weekend hours through December 31st. The Receiver continually urged residents to consult with their tax professionals before prepaying taxes. Clavin also encouraged taxpayers with mortgage escrow accounts to inform their banks or financial institutions about the prepayment, and is now urging them to act immediately if they have not yet done so.

 

For residents who do contact their mortgage servicers, Clavin urges them to have their tax payment receipts handy, along with a recent mortgage statement if available. The Receiver also noted that each bank or financial institution will differ in their verification methods, likely requesting a copy of your tax payment receipt. Once banks verify tax prepayments, they may deal with the issue in a variety of ways, which can include an adjustment of monthly payments or escrow accounts, depending on the financial institution.

 

“Be sure to have your tax receipt and mortgage documentation on hand when you call to prevent any misunderstanding or delays,” Clavin added. “Do not rely on the advice of friends or family, you must speak with your mortgage servicer directly because they all have different standards and regulations.”

 

Clavin offered valuable information for homeowners who experience difficulty in dealing with their bank or mortgage holder. Specifically, those residents who are not satisfied with their lender’s efforts with respect to reconciling property tax prepayments with monthly mortgage amounts or escrow accounts, should contact the New York State Department of Financial Services at (800) 342-3736. The department’s website can be found at www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.

 

The Receiver also offered a helpful checklist for those homeowners who prepaid their 2018 property taxes and want to reconcile accounts with their mortgage holder:

 

Call your bank NOW!

Have your property tax receipt handy.

Have a recent mortgage statement in hand when calling your bank.

Have your bank respond in writing to your inquiry so you have a permanent record.

Reconcile your prepayment with bank records to ensure accuracy.

Have concerns? Call the NYS Department of Financial Services at (800) 342-3736.

 

Those who prepaid their taxes in late December were issued a temporary tax receipt, and should be receiving a regular receipt via mail in the coming days and weeks. While the Receiver of Taxes Office cannot answer questions related to mortgages or escrow payments, the staff is available to assist regarding your payment of school and general taxes by calling (516) 538-1500 or by visiting the tax office (200 North Franklin Street, Hempstead) during regular business hours (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.).

 

“It would be fair to assume that your bank will not be contacting you anytime soon other than to sell you a product or service, and the last thing I want to see is a taxpayer struggling to pay bills due to a bank’s clerical errors or a lack of communication,” Clavin said. “Make a New Year’s resolution and save some stress by picking up a phone with your tax receipt in hand and contact your mortgage provider today.”

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website

Pay April 2018 School Taxes Now and Deduct Taxes on 2017 Return

Coping with the Federal Tax Code Overhaul, Clavin Urges Homeowners to Pay April 2018 School Taxes Now and Deduct Taxes on 2017 Return

 

As Congress wrestles with a major overhaul of the Federal Tax Code, which may eliminate or cap deductions for expenses such as property taxes, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is urging property owners to expedite certain property tax payments in order to take advantage of property tax deductions before a new tax code is enacted. In specific, homeowners who pay their second half school taxes before January 1, 2018 may be eligible to deduct the payment for federal income tax purposes on their 2017 returns. The second half taxes are due on April 1, 2018; however, if property owners wait until the due date to make payments, they will likely not be able to deduct the full amount of property taxes under the federal tax code being hammered out in Washington. Also joining Clavin at today’s press conference were Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilmembers Ed Ambrosino, Bruce Blakeman, Erin King Sweeney, Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne, Sr.

 

“The proposed federal tax overhaul will adversely impact many people in our area, and I am focused on finding any possible way to help local taxpayers,” said Clavin. “Many homeowners may be able to take deductions on their school taxes that are due in April of 2018 by paying them by December 31st of this year.”

 

School taxes are collected twice each year, once in October and again in April. Some homeowners have called Clavin’s office, expressing an interest in paying the April school property taxes prior to the end of this year in order to be able to deduct the payment. Clavin has consulted with tax professionals who indicate that property owners who fall below the Alternative Minimum Tax threshold may qualify to deduct their second half school tax payment on their 2017 income tax return if it is paid prior to the end of 2017. The Receiver did emphasize that individuals should consult with their tax professional to determine if they meet eligibility requirements.

 

“Don’t miss your opportunity to maximize your tax deductions,” said Clavin. “I urge homeowners to consult with their tax professionals to determine if they can reduce their income tax burden by paying their April school tax bill before December 31st of this year.”

 

“The new federal tax code could negatively impact our residents, and these valuable tips give our taxpayers one more opportunity to benefit from the current tax code before it expires,” Goosby said. “We encourage residents to consult their tax professionals to determine if it will be beneficial to pay school taxes before the end of this year,” Ambrosino added.

 

“Time is running out on the current federal tax code, and this is one way that our taxpayers could potentially benefit before it expires,” Blakeman said. “By paying your next tax bill by December 31st, you could deduct a portion of your property taxes that may not be deductible under the new federal tax code,” King Sweeney said.

 

While many taxpayers may elect to pay their second half school taxes (April school taxes) in the 2017 year, property owners will NOT be able to pay their 2018 general property taxes prior to the January 1, 2018 due date. In specific, Nassau County’s Administrative Code expressly prohibits the payment of general taxes in the year prior to the one in which they are due. The County’s Administrative Code states (in part) that general taxes “…shall be due and payable on the first day of January, and the remaining and final one-half of such taxes on real estate shall be due and payable on the first day of July…”

 

Clavin has staff prepared to answer questions about hours of operation, payment locations, payment options (cash, e-Check, credit card, check) and other issues related to the early payment of second half school taxes (staff will not be able to advise property owners on income tax questions, including eligibility for deductions).”

 

“Our knowledgeable Receiver of Taxes office staff is prepared and ready to accept school property tax payments before the New Year for neighbors who want to deduct them on their 2017 tax returns,” D’Esposito said. “Take this advice, speak with your tax professional, and consider paying your school bill by December 31st to benefit from the current tax code before it’s replaced by new regulations,” Dunne added.

 

“Now is the time to consider your options when it comes to making an early payment of your April 2018 school taxes,” concluded Clavin. “Speak to your tax professional today to determine if you are eligible to make an early payment of second half school taxes or any other possible payments, and deduct the amount on your 2017 income taxes.”

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website

Clavin Warns Residents: Challenge Assessments or Risk Tax Increases to Pay for Neighbor’s Assessment Reductions

If you have not regularly challenged your assessments, your taxes have likely increased to pay for the assessment reductions of homeowners who have successfully grieved their assessments. In fact, a recent Newsday report cited a $1.7 billion shift in taxes from property owners who won assessment challenges filed since the county’s assessment overhaul began in 2010 to those who did not successfully challenge their assessments. In response to this unfair shift in the property tax burden, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin is holding 20 taxpayer forums focused on helping homeowners to challenge their property tax assessments.

 

“Nassau County, not the Town of Hempstead, sets your property tax assessments,” stated Clavin. “But, we can help homeowners avoid becoming victims of the county’s unfair and inequitable assessment system by educating property owners on the importance of challenging assessments routinely. What’s more, I am hosting 20 taxpayer seminars focused on demonstrating precisely how property owners may go about challenging their assessments.”

 

Earlier this year, a Newsday report uncovered unequal treatment among those who challenged their property tax assessments regularly in Nassau and those who did not. Further, the report even uncovered disparate treatment among those who did challenge on an ongoing basis. In fact, some homes that were the subject of regular challenges were deemed ineligible for what amounted to assessment reductions of 5 to 9 percent annually under the county’s “Carry Forward” provision. Unfortunately, the criteria of eligibility appear to change frequently, and the changes have not been shared with the public.

 

If your home is deemed ineligible, it will receive a new appraisal and a valuation readjustment that takes into account the neighborhood’s real estate market. Since most Long Island neighborhoods have been increasing in value, the new valuation is often higher, resulting in the same percent reduction from a higher price. By not challenging your home’s assessment, Nassau County will continue to take advantage of uninformed homeowners.

 

“Remember, your assessment can only be lowered as the result of a challenge, it can never be raised,” said Clavin.

 

“A few things are abundantly clear when it comes to Nassau’s assessment system,” announced Clavin. “The system is broken, it is rife with inequity, and many homeowners have been penalized with higher taxes to pay for the assessment reductions of neighbors who have challenged their assessments. One more thing is clear…Nassau has been secretive about the eligibility criteria for the ‘Carry Forward’ of assessment reductions, resulting in tax inequity even among those who have challenged assessments.”

 

Clavin noted that Nassau County’s broken assessment system makes it more important than ever for homeowners to challenge their assessments every year. He indicated that while challenging your assessment every year will not correct the underlying inequities in the system or guarantee a fair valuation, it is the best protection available when it comes to protecting your home from over assessment and property owners from unwarranted property tax increases.

 

“While Nassau’s inequitable assessment system needs a genuine overhaul based upon regularly updated market based valuations, homeowners need to take steps to protect themselves, to the extent possible, through challenging their property tax assessments each and every year,” said Clavin. “I encourage residents to attend one of my taxpayer forums to learn how to grieve their taxes.”

 

The free taxpayer forums have a strong focus on sharing “how to” information on challenging assessments. Outlining a step-by-step process on filing the grievance, the seminars will also offer information on property tax exemptions and other important information for property owners.

 

The Receiver of Taxes will be holding free taxpayer forums at the following locations:

 

· December 5 – 12:15 PM, Garden City Public Library, 60 Seventh St., Garden City

· December 7 – 7 PM, Valley Stream Village Hall, 123 S. Central Ave., Valley Stream

· January 4 – 1 PM, Wantagh Library, 3285 Park Ave., Wantagh

· January 8 – 2 PM, Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont

· January 8 – 7 PM, Oceanside Public Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside

· January 10 – 7 PM, Malverne Public Library, 61 St. Thomas Pl. Malverne

· January 12 – 1 PM, Merrick Public Library, 2279 Merrick Ave., Merrick

· January 16 – 7 PM, Floral Park Public Library, 17 Caroline Ave., Floral Park

· January 18 – 7 PM, Levittown Library, 1 Blue Grass Lane, Levittown

· January 22 – 7 PM, Garden City Public Library, 60 Seventh St., Garden City

· January 25 – 7 PM, Island Park Library, 176 Long Beach Rd., Island Park

· January 26 – 2 PM, Oceanside Public Library, 390 Davison Ave., Oceanside

· January 30 – 7 PM, Baldwin Public Library, 2385 Grand Ave., Baldwin

· January 31 – 6:30 PM, Freeport Memorial Library, 144 W. Merrick Rd., Freeport

· February 1 – 7 PM, Bellmore Public Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore

· February 5 – 1 PM, East Meadow Public Library, 1186 Front St., East Meadow

· February 6 – 2 PM, Baldwin Public Library, 2385 Grand Ave., Baldwin

· February 8 – 7 PM, Hempstead Public Library, 115 Nichols Ct., Hempstead

· February 9, 1 PM, Bellmore Public Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore

· February 13 – 2 PM, Franklin Square Public Library, 19 Lincoln Road, Franklin Square

· February 15 – 1 PM & 7 PM, West Hempstead Library, 500 Hempstead Ave., West Hempstead

 

“Nassau County’s property tax assessment system is flawed and out of control,” concluded Clavin. “It is time to take action by informing our residents on how they can fight back. Come on down to one of my free taxpayer forums, together we can take steps to protect ourselves from being victimized by unwarranted tax increases that are the result of an inequitable assessment system.”

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website