Residents and businesses must demonstrate economic hardship caused by COVID-19, threshold will be set by the County and vetted by the towns and cities.
(White Plains, NY) – Westchester County Executive George Latimer received permission from Governor Andrew Cuomo to go forward with his plan to remove late fees for County residents and business for the late payment of their property taxes (New York State Executive Order No. 202.22).
Latimer said: “I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the need to help Westchester residents and businesses. I am concerned about the financial pressures that the residents of this County are under. We can, we should – and now, we are – offering them some financial relief by waiving the late payments for the County taxes now due. This is the right thing to do for our constituents.”
To provide assistance to the cities and towns that collect these taxes, the Executive Order allows for the County Executive to accept less than 60% of the taxes (along with special ad valorem levies and special assessments) due on May 25 from towns and cities, as long as the municipalities waive residents’ late fees for the late payment of property taxes up to July 15, 2020.
To have the fee waived, the resident or business must certify economic hardship caused by COVID-19. The threshold for the certification requires in part that a resident must have qualified for the STAR exemption, is not paying property taxes through an escrow account and can assert that they have suffered loss of substantial employment income as a result of COVID-19.
Business Council of Westchester Vice President and COO John Ravitz said: “The Business Council of Westchester applauds the County Executive and the Governor for adopting this Executive Order, which will send a strong message, to the residents and the business community in the County, that they will have some well-deserved breathing room regarding their payments of county taxes. This was simply the right thing to do, as businesses continue to navigate through this crisis.”
New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald said: “Governor Andrew Cuomo and County Executive George Latimer deserve great credit for taking action to protect property taxpayers during this pandemic. For weeks I have been advocating to provide relief to taxpayers whose payments are coming due at a time when so many are struggling. As a tax attorney, I have always believed in standing up for taxpayers and this Executive Order helps Westchester residents who have lost their jobs or been forced to shutdown their businesses.”
Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey said: “I sincerely thank Westchester County Executive George Latimer for his continued leadership for our county. I also thank our County elected officials and our NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo for taking steps to provide assistance to mitigate the hardships faced by residents all over the state of New York. We value all our constituents and we will support efforts by our County Executive to help support members of our communities, especially during this pandemic. Most importantly, we will do whatever it takes to support those whose lives have been impacted by this crisis and those on the frontlines. This is especially true for those in our communities who are more at-risk than others. This executive order is a true example of how proactive and thoughtful leaders continue to fight for those we lead, especially in times of need.”
Pelham Town Supervisor Dan McLaughlin said: “We believe the authorization to allow the waiver of penalties regarding the late payment of County and Town taxes is a recognition that these are unusual times and require unusual remedies where necessary. If the Town of Pelham has one or more residents that experience significant hardship as a result of COVID-19 and fall under the NY States definition of a hardship as a result of COVID-19 then we would surely support the waiver of penalties for late payment of County and Town taxes as outlined in the Governor’s Executive order.”
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said: “I have been in regular contact with the county on this and appreciate the work of the County Executive and his team to reach this resolution. Many don’t realize that although we collect the taxes on behalf of the county they are not city taxes. Additionally it is important to note that the city must guarantee payment to the county whether the individual taxpayer has made timely payment or not. It was our intent to waive the penalties but needed the legal structure to do so. That has now been provided.”
Yorktown Supervisor Matt Slater said: “Working in collaboration with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County Executive George Latimer has produced a sensible solution that provides real tax relief for residents who have been financially impacted during this unprecedented situation. Having heard from many concerned taxpayers out of work and facing financial hardships this is simply the right thing to do.”
Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi (District 4) said: “Today’s action is good news for the residents, businesses and the municipalities. Eliminating tax penalties for people who are suffering most during this tragic pandemic is what government needs to do at this time.”
Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker (District 7) said: “This solution by County Executive Latimer and Governor Cuomo is going to help the people that lost their jobs, had to close their business and still provide relief for town governments. It is critical to those people to eliminate late penalties for being unable to pay taxes due to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Westchester County Legislator Terry Clements (District 11) said: “In response to New York State residents who find themselves in circumstances they could never image, I am pleased a New Executive Order has been signed. I would like to thank County Executive George Latimer and Governor Andrew Cuomo in amending the Westchester County Tax Law. This Executive Order applies uniformly to all residents, business owners and municipalities providing tax relief during this crisis. I realize going forward, we will continue to face unexpected challenges in Westchester, however this is a welcome partnership between County and State to serve all residents. Thanks again to all the County Legislators, Town Supervisors the County Executive and the Governor for their leadership as we collectively maneuver our current and future challenges as a result of COVID-19.”
About Westchester County
Westchester County, located in the heart of the historic Hudson Valley, covers 500 square miles and has a population of just under a million. Originally home to Native Americans, who were members of the Lenape tribe, it is today a rich mix of many cultures and landscapes. The County is a blend of bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque towns as well as open spaces and a network of beautiful parks. Westchester is made up of 6 cities, 19 towns and 20 villages. Westchester County is known for top-notch public schools, and a high quality of life. The County is also an intellectual capital, boasting a highly educated workforce, competitive colleges and universities, Fortune 500 companies, world changing non-profits, and cutting-edge research centers. Westchester is led by County Executive George Latimer, who took office in January 2018 as the ninth County Executive. Using inclusion and openness as a foreground, Latimer is fighting to make Westchester a destination for all people to live, work and enjoy. Learn more about Westchester County by visiting www.westchestergov.com