ALBANY — The Senate on Monday unanimously passed its version of a bill that would require the Cuomo administration to pay interest to taxpayers who have been waiting months for their tax rebate checks.
“The rebate is supposed to be prepaid to homeowners before their school tax bill is due, but many hardworking property taxpayers have been frustrated with the delay, or lack of payment by the Department of Taxation and Finance,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Catharine Young (R-Olean). “The state agency has a responsibility to provide relief for our overburdened taxpayers, and homeowners deserve to be compensated with interest if the state cannot meet its obligation.”
At issue is the STAR PIT Credit that for years was a credit and reported on local property tax bills. A year ago, the Cuomo administration with the legislature’s support converted the tax benefit into a check in part to reduce fraud and duplicate payments.
But legislators have said the change and delay — some checks still haven’t been sent, but were expected by taxpayers in mid-September — has become a major flashpoint for constituents (“NY to some taxpayers: Tax rebate checks will be in the mail”). The Senate passed the measure 55-0.
Cuomo administration officials blame the delay on creating a complex new system and the lack of uniform tax data in local governments, some of which have few staffers.
The Senate estimates the average basic STAR benefit is $840 per eligible homeowner and the average senior STAR benefit for older homeowners is $1,555.
The Assembly’s Democratic majority, which would have to approve the same bill for it to go to Cuomo for his signature or veto, will review the bill, a spokesman said.