Property tax rebate checks are supposed to begin to trickle out in the mail again soon. If you get one, how should you use it? What do you need to know about them?
Around 2 million property tax rebate checks should soon be going out to New York property owners with incomes under $275,000. According to the Department of Taxation & Finance the average size of these checks this year may be as high as $490.
The Property Tax Rebate Check Trap
Smart Long Island property owners know these rebate checks are a trap. For one, don’t count on yours arriving. If it does, there is a good chance you may not get it until sometime next spring, given delays in previous years.
These checks are also just returning money you overpaid to the government, after letting them enjoy a nice long interest free loan on your money.
They are designed this way to spur people to boost consumer spending and feel good about the system. Yet, the real trap is lulling people into then failing to be motivated to act to change the tax system and put pressure on officials to be accountable for the broken system and over taxation.
Don’t let them deter or distract you from voting and from using your right to challenge and appeal your oversized annual property tax bill and assessment.
They might offer you this small rebate, but are probably overcharging you several times that amount.
Using The Money To Make Your Next Move
The best use of this money is probably to pay your next property tax bill. With new assessments you next bill will probably be even higher than the last.
Others may want to use it to help finally make that move.
Many, many millennials and Long Island businesses continue to flee to other states where the taxes are lower, and housing and the cost of living is much cheaper. Much of this is driven by the property tax burden here. That is also making it so expensive to rent. Homeownership has plummeted, yet landlords have to keep raising the rents to keep up with the taxes. When the numbers can’t match up, quality of living will go down a lot more.
While millennials and business owners are eager to move out, recent surveys show that seniors would much rather stay in their homes and age in place. Though while 76% say they want to, only 46% think they’ll actually be able to pull it off. That number is probably much lower in reality.
Even if you own your own home on Long Island with no mortgage, there are plenty of other expenses as you age. Your property taxes alone can easily demand over $10,000 a year. Then you are going to have to pay to repair and maintain the home, put in stairlifts, or change your floor plan to have a downstairs master suite, and maybe bring in someone to cook, clean and provide nursing services. If you are determined to stay, then challenging your property tax bill can at least create more savings to cover these other increasing costs.