The city lost nearly $60 million in tax revenue by giving tax exemptions to thousands of dead New Yorkers and ineligible corporations, according to a new audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer.
According to the audit, the Department of Finance incorrectly offered thousands of property owners — many of whom had died — senior citizen homeowner exemptions from fiscal years 2011 to 2017.
“Our audit uncovered that the Department of Finance has been giving away tens of millions in tax exemptions meant for senior citizens to corporations and deceased New Yorkers,” Stringer said in a statement. “This lost revenue could have gone toward building the affordable housing we desperately need, or increasing resources for our school children.”
The exemption is intended for anyone 65 or older who owns a one-, two- or three-family home, condo or co-op apartment in the city. The household income has to be below $37,400 and the home has to be a primary residence to qualify, according to the audit.
Stringer’s audit said the Department of Finance should identify anyone receiving these exemptions where the homeowner died, and suggested the agency try to recover “all erroneous tax exemptions that were applied to ineligible homeowners,” according to the comptroller’s office.