?It has come to the attention of the administration that, once again, there are individuals and businesses who believe they can bypass the system and avoid paying a tax that goes directly into our funding stream,? said Mayor Spano. ?Time has come for this to stop. I?ve called upon our legal and finance teams to aggressively pursue these property owners so we can collect money rightfully owed to the City.?
The City of Yonkers has reviewed real property transactions dating from July 2009. Since November 2012, the City sent demand notices to owners, sellers, and title agencies and has resolved 74 of the 123 properties to date, for a collection total of $294,333.
Additionally, as a way to solve the issue of non-payment, Mayor Spano has asked the Westchester County Clerk Office to request enforcement of the City Code that requires payment of the tax on the transfer of any deed for real estate property, asking the County to refuse to record of any deeds which are subject to the transfer tax without proof of payment.
?We believe that with the assistance of the County, we can eliminate the failure of parties, involved in a real estate transaction, to pay the transfer tax,? added Mayor Spano. ?Assistance will not only serve to ensure compliance with the City?s Code, but will also benefit Yonkers residents by ensuring availability of this much-needed revenue source for City services.?
As a result of the high number of properties with outstanding tax fees, Yonkers City Council also has passed new legislation which will require all transfer taxes to be paid within seven days, not the previous 30 days, from date of the property sale.
Mayor Spano continued, ?Changing the due date of the transfer tax will provide us the opportunity to better monitor the completion of the payments and transfer of deeds for each property. Overall, with assistance from the County, we look for this process to be more efficiently managed.?
The collection of these unpaid taxes comes as Mayor Spano has worked to create a new solid and thorough finance department, which will be aggressive in monitoring the number of title companies and sellers that are not timely with their transfer tax payments.
The Yonkers real estate transfer tax is pursuant to Chapter 15,??Article V of the Yonkers City Code, which imposes a tax on the transfer of each deed for real estate property. According to the City Code, the tax must be paid to the City ?before the recording of such deed and evidence of payment must be affixed to the deed before it is recorded.? The transfer tax rate in Yonkers is 1.5% of the property?s final sale price.
SOURCE: Yonkers Communications Director, Office of the Mayor, Christina Gilmartin