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FAQ About Tax Collection

1. My taxes are in escrow but I received a bill. What should I do?

Many residents have their taxes escrowed with lending institutions.  In the event that you may have received a bill that should have gone to the bank, please contact our office as soon as you receive the bill so we can send it to the escrow company. If the bill should have gone to the homeowner, but went to the bank, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to know that taxes are due. Please call the tax collector immediately and you will receive a duplicate bill. The failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a statement will not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by the law. [New York State Real Property Tax Law §922]. If you should have received a bill, but have not by the second week in January, please contact the tax collector for a duplicate bill.

2. I am a new homeowner and I never received my bill or received it late. Do I still have to pay the penalty?

Yes, the failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a statement will not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by law [New York State Real Property Tax Law §922]. In addition, neither the tax collector nor any other official has legal authority to waive statutory penalty charges. These are fixed by the Real Property Tax Law. If they are waived, the tax collecting officer will be personally responsible. As all records are audited by State examiners, there is absolutely no discretion in this matter. The Constitution and the law of the State mandates the procedure.

3. If I mail my payment on the due date do I have to pay a penalty?

New York State Real Property Tax Law §925, provides as follows “Payment of taxes by mail, when enclosed in a postpaid wrapper (envelope) properly addressed to the appropriate collecting officer and is deposited in a post office or official depository under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Post Office shall be upon delivery, deemed to have been made to such offices the date of the United States Postmark on such wrapper.  The provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of postmarks not made by the United States Post Office. A postage meter postmark is not a postmark made by the United States Post Office and, therefore is not within the provisions of Real Property Tax Law §925. Payment cannot be deemed timely because of a postage meter postmark date on an envelope containing a tax payment (Op New York State Comp. 69-170).

If taxes are not received until after the due date, they are not paid until after the due date unless they fall squarely within the provisions of Section §925 of the Real Property Tax Law, and the penalty must be added and collected.  No Town official or employee can waive the penalty (Op. New York State Comp. 68-626).

4. Can I pay my property taxes in installments?

No. The property tax must be paid in full in one payment.

5. Can I pre-pay my property taxes?

No, the warrant constitutes the mantle of authority for the collecting officer to receive the taxes.  Therefore, the warrant must be regarded as the instrument which empowers the collecting officer to begin the collection. Collection authority cannot begin prior to the date of the warrant.