NYC has $1.3B in unpaid property taxes

Tax revenue could fall by nearly 5% this year

Photo illustration of Mayor Bill de Blasio as Uncle Sam (iStock, Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong)
Photo illustration of Mayor Bill de Blasio as Uncle Sam (iStock, Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong)

Landlords and homeowners are struggling to pay their property taxes.

Unpaid taxes rose to $1.3 billion this month, or about 4.5 percent of the $30 billion total due this year, according to a report by The City.

That’s a large figure compared to prior years. For the previous fiscal year, which ended in June 2020, the delinquency rate for unpaid property taxes was 1.8 percent. At the highest point after the 2008 recession, only 2.17 percent of property taxes due were left unpaid.

Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration expect that once late payments are factored in, the delinquency rate will shrink to about 3 percent for this year. But looking ahead to next year, both forecast property tax revenue falling by 4.5 percent — the first decline in 25 years — due to a combination of lower assessments and higher unpaid bills.

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The arrears are split between commercial and residential property owners. Nearly 5 percent of the city’s apartment buildings, co-ops, condominiums and one- to three-family homes haven’t paid property taxes.

The Community Housing Improvement Program is calling on the state to speed up the distribution of the federal rent relief funds, while the Real Estate Board of New York is pushing lawmakers to drop the penalty for unpaid taxes from 18 percent to 3 percent.

De Blasio opposes reducing the penalty; a spokesperson told the City his administration is “exploring ways to help taxpayers and businesses recover.” Stringer, who is running for mayor, maintained his position that “we must cancel rent for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have fallen behind through no fault of their own.”

Stringer did not address where that leaves owners, though he’s previously advocated for spending $2.2 billion in aid that would go to renters and small landlords.

[The City] — Erin Hudson