The co-president of the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council said he was concerned that some northeast Queens residents could be excluded from a tax abatement that they fought hard to get extended in the state Legislature.
Earlier this year, state legislators extended the J-51 tax abatement program, which prevented co-op and condo owners from facing massive increases in their real property taxes.
But the Department of Finance recently sent notices to some co-op and condo owners if the city’s records did not show that the units were their primary residences.
The residents were told that they had until April 1 to send in their Cooperative Tax Abatement Primary Residence Verification or face the possibility of losing their abatements.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and co-president of the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council, said he knew a number of residents who had lived primarily in their units for decades, but had still received the notice.
“Many of the people receiving the forms have been living in their apartment as a primary residence for 10, 20 or 40 years,” he said. “I think it’s a failure of the Department of Finance keeping up-to-date records and staying up on when apartments are transferred.”
The Department of Finance could not be reached for comment.
Schreiber said northeast Queens co-op and condo owners were also upset that they were not given much time to return the primary residence form.
“They’ve only been giving people until April 1,” he said. “Many people are in Florida for three months out of the year and others are disabled. I just want to make sure that nobody who is entitled to their abatement is phased out of the program. I don’t know it would entail to get reinstated. If it’s anything like we’ve seen before from the Department of Finance, it could be a bureaucratic nightmare.”
Northeast Queens co-op and condo owners had previously been upset with the Department of Finance in spring 2011 after a computer glitch had led to them receiving double and triple increases in the evaluations of their units.