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Tax Collectors Finally Make Amends To Double-billed Senior

The NYC Dept. of Finance drew $855 from an octogenarian’s account, but wouldn’t acknowledge his payment.

Ralph Silverman boasts that he may be 85, but he still has all his marbles. So when he paid last April’s quarterly property tax, but was again billed the same sum with late penalties, he noticed.

The NYC Dept. of Finance, he said, did not.

Silverman says he attempted six separate times over nine months to correct the agency’s records, each time sending a duplicate of the $885 electronic transfer that had been drawn upon.

“They never answered any of my letters, or paid attention,” he said.

Hoping that others in government could help, Silverman says he then asked no less than seven other officials, including local politicians, to help him get through to the DOF.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, who was the only one who did assist Silverman, found out that the agency had misapplied his payment to another taxpayer’s account.

The same mistake had occurred three years ago, according to Silverman, though he says he indicated his correct lot number, and followed the correct tax protocol. Last time he was spared a runaround, because the error was immediately fixed.

“Unfortunately, administrative errors do happen within City and State agencies and the homeowners are oftentimes held at fault,” said Avella.

Last year, felt they were being held at fault, when home assessments in Queens. The DOF’s Commissioner David Frankel that the increases were partially due to faulty software, and the agency has since of any system failure.

And a few months ago, a Bayside homeowner and blogger, , that he would be taxed a fee special to commercial property holders, though he does not own a storefront.

The Bayside , which sets the fee, said it was the City’s Small Business Service that sent Yale the letter, while SBS pointed the finger right back at the Bayside BID.

Both say they don’t believe the fee will actually be applied to Yale’s tax bill, but the homeowner said he will be watching for anything strange.

The DOF did not respond for comment when asked about Silverman’s charges, but Avella says he was able to get the agency to acknowledge payment, and expunge the $19.86 penalty.

Diane Schubach February 28, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if he gets another bill.

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