Tag Archives: property tax break

Clavin, Phillips, Ra, Rally with Seniors for Property Tax Equality

Proposal Gives Nassau Seniors Same Property Tax Break as NYC Neighbors


Standing with a group of Floral Park senior citizens, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Senator Elaine Phillips, and Assemblyman Ed Ra announced that they are calling for state legislation which would provide property tax parity for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Nassau County. The officials spoke out in force, demanding that Nassau homeowners be granted the same income eligibility levels for senior citizen property tax exemptions as the Governor has recently signed into law for homeowners in New York City. Joining Clavin, Phillips and Ra at a Floral Park senior couple’s residence for the announcement were Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi and a group of determined senior citizens. Clavin has been rallying seniors and elected officials to sponsor legislative parity for Nassau County seniors since he learned about the increased property tax benefit for the city’s mature homeowners.


“Owning a home on Long Island is expensive, especially for senior citizens and people with disabilities, many of whom are living on a fixed income,” stated Clavin. “It’s only right that our Nassau homeowners get the same level of property tax relief as our neighbors in New York City are enjoying. Accordingly, I want to thank Senator Elaine Phillips and Assemblyman Ed Ra for sponsoring legislation that would ‘level the playing field’ for our mature residents by increasing the income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption in Nassau County. I also am calling for an increase in income eligibility limits for persons with disabilities. What’s more, I want to thank Nassau Legislator Richard Nicolello and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney for sponsoring ‘home rule messages’ in support of the plan.”


The officials explained that Long Island seniors, as well as all mature homeowners across the state, were subject to the same income eligibility limits as New York City neighbors until recently. Indeed, legislation introduced during the 2017-2018 session (S-4628A), which passed both houses of the legislature and has been signed into law by the Governor, increases income eligibility levels for both the Senior Citizen and Disability Property Tax Exemptions in New York City. Clavin approached the other officials and requested state legislative relief after learning about the increase in income eligibility limits for New York City’s Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption program.


“Equity is a key imperative in our state’s legislative system,” stated Phillips. “And, a commitment to fairness demands legislation that would help Nassau’s seniors and people with disabilities by boosting income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption. I am proud to announce that I will sponsor legislation to remedy this inequity.”


“Working with Senator Phillips, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Legislator Nicolello, we will bring property tax fairness to Nassau County,” said Ra. “I am dedicated to working with my colleagues in government to raise senior citizen and disability income eligibility levels when it comes to the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption.”


“Senior citizens, many of whom are living on a fixed income, are struggling to ‘make ends meet’ on Long Island,” said King Sweeney. “When Don Clavin brought this issue to my attention and asked me to sponsor Hempstead Town’s participation in an enhanced Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption program, I eagerly accepted the task.”


In fact, the newly approved law boosts income eligibility levels for New York City seniors and persons with disabilities who seek an exemption by as much as 72.4 percent. For example, the pre-existing income ceiling of $29,000 for a full 50 percent exemption (the highest exemption level) is raised to $50,000 under the law. And, the maximum income level that a New York City senior may achieve and still be eligible for an exemption has been increased to $58,399 from $37,399.


“I want to thank Don Clavin for identifying a tremendous disparity in the treatment of Nassau’s senior citizens, compared to city homeowners, when it comes to property tax exemption income eligibility limits,” said Nicolello. “I am proud to sponsor a ‘home rule’ message in the Nassau Legislature which will support Senator Phillips and Assemblyman Ra as they fight to secure increased Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption income eligibility limits for Nassau’s homeowners like those currently enjoyed by their New York City neighbors.”


Prior to the newly minted legislation that boosted income limits for NYC’s seniors, the City’s income eligibility limits were identical to those that are applicable to Long Island property owners. The law (Chapter 131 of the RPTL), which was signed into effect by the Governor on July 25, 2017, provides for the City of New York to “opt in.” Before the passage of the new law, the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption income eligibility limits for New York City included a maximum adjusted gross income of $37,399, which provided a 5 percent exemption. Those with an adjusted gross income of $29,000 or less qualified for a 50 percent exemption. And, the law provided for eight incremental income levels between the base and the maximum eligibility amounts, each carrying a graduated exemption percentage based on income. The following table details the previous income/exemption amounts for New York City homeowners (these amounts remain in force for Long Island and the rest of New York State):



Income Exemption
$29,000 or LESS 50 percent
$29,001 to $29,999 45 percent
$30,000 to $30,999 40 percent
$31,000 to $31,999 35 percent
$32,000 to $32,899 30 percent
$32,900 to $33,799 25 percent
$33,800 to $34,699 20 percent
$34,700 to $35,599 15 percent
$35,600 to $36,499 10 percent
$36,500 to $37,399   5 percent



New York City’s income/exemption amounts under the newly adopted state legislation have risen to the following levels:


Income Exemption
$50,000 or LESS 50 percent
$50,001 to $50,999 45 percent
$51,000 to $51,999 40 percent
$52,000 to $52,999 35 percent
$53,000 to $53,899 30 percent
$53,900 to $54,799 25 percent
$54,800 to $55,699 20 percent
$55,700 to $56,599 15 percent
$56,600 to $57,499 10 percent
$57,500 to $58,399   5 percent



The officials called the current income limits unrealistic and said they have not kept pace with the cost of living on Long Island. In fact, federal HUD guidelines term a household income of $56,700 as “low income” on Long Island. Clavin, Phillips, Ra and Nicolello observed that the last time the income eligibility limits were raised was in 2009. Prior to that, income limits were raised in three successive years (2007, 2008, 2009). Further, the representatives noted that any new legislation could include “opt in” provisions for local governments and empower municipalities with the authority to adjust income levels or exemption levels within maximum cap amounts in order to address the budgetary constraints of individual local governments.


“I think we can all agree that it’s time to raise income eligibility levels for this property tax exemption program,” said Phillips. “Our Nassau neighbors have watched costs increase since 2009, and they deserve an increase in income eligibility levels that reflects the increases in our cost of living.”


“Many senior citizens and persons with disabilities are struggling to make ends meet, and this legislation would be a huge help for mature residents,” said Ra. “I want to thank Don Clavin and Senator Phillips for their efforts on behalf of senior citizens.”


“As the son of a veteran, I am enthusiastic that more people like my mom and dad will be able to take advantage of the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption,” said Mayor Longobardi. “I want to thank Receiver Clavin, Senator Phillips, Assemblyman Ed Ra and the other officials for working to help Nassau County seniors make ends meet.”


“Our senior citizens and persons with disabilities should be treated just like New York City’s ‘golden-aged’ homeowners when it comes to property tax fairness,” concluded Clavin. “I want to join those who would be affected by this legislation in thanking Senator Phillips and Assemblyman Ra for taking the fight to Albany as they present legislation that will secure property tax parity between Nassau’s senior homeowners and our neighbors in New York City.”


Visit Receiver 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