Many New Yorkers may fear April 15, but with information in hand, the day does not have to invoke fear or mean people need to stress when submitting their figures. By getting an early start, asking for help, and taking advantage of new credits and relief acts, New Yorkers may cut their tax bills. For example, there is an option of a property tax freeze credit this year, if New Yorkers live outside the City and fit both of the following qualifications. If the school district where the taxpayer has property abided by a tax property cap and followed the New York State Property Tax Cap, New Yorkers may be able to take advantage of this new credit. However, New Yorkers applying for this credit must also have received the 2014 Star property exemption and have a total household income of $500,000 or less. The exemption must have also been taken on their primary residential property. If these conditions are not met, New York residents may not be able to claim the new Property Tax Freeze Credit.

Why aren’t New York City residents eligible for this new tax freeze credit? There is no cap in New York City on taxes, which makes New Yorkers living in the City non-eligible. New Yorkers in the City can still apply for the New York City Circuit Breaker Tax Credit.

Claiming your Freeze Tax Credit

Did you know residents in Buffalo, Yonkers, Rochester and Syracuse are still eligible for the Property Tax Freeze Credit, but there are different rules? The school districts and cities both levy taxes at a different rate, so because of the freeze credit, tax is calculated at 67 percent for the school tax and 33 percent for the city tax. This year, that credit is equal to the property tax accredited to the school tax of 67 percent.

Not everyone gets the same credit amount. Co-ops and mobile homes are assessed at a different rate. For example, co-op owners will receive 60 percent of the average credit. Mobile home owners only receive 25 percent of the average. The average is figured by the actual increase in a homeowner’s bill or previous year’s tax bill multiplied by an inflation factor of less than 2 percent. The 2013 tax bill may be multiplied by 1.5 percent or .015, for example.

What to keep in mind about your New York City property Assessments

In New York City, property taxes are determined based on real property assessments, such as land or any permanent structures attached to the land. What may be taxed? Apartment buildings, mobile homes, houses, land, barns, etc. may be subject to property assessments. Three assessments are made in order to determine the value of property and assessments are made on the current market value of the land. Recent sell prices for properties in the community help assessors determine the market value of a property. How is your tax value figured? An assessor generally multiples the market value by the level of assessment. Depending on how recent the assessments were taken, the property values of may be less than 100 percent of its true value.

If assessments are not recent, they may not reflect the true value of a property. If a property owner disagrees with an assessment, they may dispute the assessment. One way a property owner can check their assessed property value is to measure it against current sale prices for similar properties in the area that were sold recently. Property owners should also check the assessment rolls so that they can make certain they are receiving all the adjustments they are due.

Changes in assessments may not change the amount of taxes Owed

Tax assessments are not the same as tax bills. Property owners may not realize assessment changes do not necessarily affect the amount of taxes paid annually. Tax rates may not change unless local budgets increase, there is less revenue from other sources or the value of an assessed property may change within a assessed district.

Some of the factors that affect your assessment may play a small factor for taxes that you pay. For example, age of the property, condition of the property, its location, number of rooms and the amount of land owed can affect an assessment amount. If your property is in a desired location, this may affect how much you pay in taxes.

Most common types of taxes/refunds New Yorkers will Pay/Receive

  • Income Tax – In order to receive a refund on income tax or pay this tax, New Yorkers need to file an IT-201 form. Only residents who have lived in New York City an entire year may file this form. Separate forms must be filed if residents itemize or they need a time extension to file their tax.
  • Low-income Housing Credit – Property owners who own low-income buildings may qualify for this tax credit if they meet all the qualifications.
  • Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax – This tax is imposed on those who are self-employed, partners, limited liability partnerships, and doing business in Queens, the Bronx, Richmond or Staten Island, Brooklyn or Kings and Manhattan. There are no tax credits to offset the cost of this tax.
  • Sales Tax – New Yorkers may be exempt from paying sales tax if clothing and footwear are below $110. Purchases above $110 are subject to a 4.5 percent sales tax in NYC and a 4 percent sales tax in New York. Did you know that cleaning and maintenance services, amusement park admissions, room occupancies, credit rating and reporting services may be taxed? All these services may be subject to a sales tax of 4.5 percent for New York City, a use and sales tax of 4 percent in New York, an MCTD tax of .375 for total sales and a use tax of 8.875 percent.

Do not forget if you park, garage or store your vehicle, the City charges a 10.375 percent tax fee to do so. In Manhattan, there is also an 8 percent surcharge of parking, storing, and garaging the vehicles in Manhattan. For those who are eligible, the tax rate may be reduced to 10.375 instead of 18.375.

If you need to make any tax payments, the website, TaxNY.gov, will allow you to file your taxes free. It is also easy to make a payment, check for a refund, and register for Star.