YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers is going after dozens of property owners who haven’t ponied up their dues.
Mayor Mike Spano said Thursday his office is in the process of collecting more than $900,000 in unpaid real estate transfer taxes from 123 property owners.
“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,” Spano said in a statement. “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.”
City officials said that after examining records dating back to June 2009, they found 123 cases of unpaid taxes totaling $938,000. To date, the city has collected on 74 those cases, recovering nearly $300,000.
The city imposes a 1.5 percent tax on a property’s final sale price for the transfer of a deed.
Hoping to a put a stop to non-payment, Spano said he has requested help from the Westchester County Clerk’s Office, asking that it refuse to register deeds that are subject to the transfer tax but lack proof of payment.
“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,” he said.
In addition, the City Council has passed legislation requiring that the transfer tax be paid within seven days, not the previous 30 days, from date of the property sale. Spano said he believed the shorter time frame would allow the city to better monitor the completion of payments and transfer of property deeds.
“Overall, with assistance from the county, we look for this process to be more efficiently managed,” he said.
The mayor said improved tax collection was part of an effort to create a Finance Department that is "aggressive in monitoring the number of title companies and sellers that are not timely with their transfer tax payments."