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While the order, issued under the governor’s emergency powers and signed on Friday, allows a municipality to adopt the change at its own discretion, it is not an automatic deferral of the application process for everyone.
According to estimates by the Association of State Appraisers, however, up to 140,000 property owners could be affected by the fact that they do not have to apply for a new exemption.
Cuomo acted after community assessors and other city-level officials urged him to waive the requirement out of concern that seniors, who are particularly prone to serious complications if they receive COVID-19, could take a risk by being in a town hall come to submit the application. The exemption applies to both low-income disabled people and senior citizens.
The New York State Assessors Association had asked the state senators to contact Cuomo to suspend the requirement that seniors file or renew their exemptions in January. A Hudson Valley legislature, Senator David Carlucci, D-Rockland County, introduced laws to suspend them.
The exemption for up to half of the municipal tax burden due at the end of January is available to every homeowner aged 65 and over who meets low-income criteria. This generally means that he will make less than $ 30,000 per year or more in certain circumstances.
Usually the exemption needs to be renewed annually with the senior or disabled person providing a copy of their most recent income tax return to show they are still on low income, although some may be able to provide an electronic verification.
According to Cuomo’s order, a municipality can establish a procedure for its examiner to review an application anyway if the owner or owners are believed to have changed primary residence, added another owner to deed, transferred ownership to someone else, or died are.
Glenville’s supervisor Chris Koetzle was one of the first to comment on the matter after being brought to the attention of city inspector William Purtell. Koetzle said Purtell is already tracking the deaths of people with one exception, and the city could require simple confirmation this year that a senior remains eligible for income.
“I think it protects the seniors and we’re glad (Cuomo) did it,” Koetzle said on Saturday. “I expect we will pass the local law that is required and I’m glad he did it – I think it should be a local decision.”
How the application process would work in 2021 was unclear anyway, as many municipal buildings in the capital region – and across the state – are either closed to the public or only open by appointment to avoid situations that could spread COVID.