NYS comptroller: 25 percent of real estate is untaxed

NYS comptroller: 25 percent of real estate is untaxed

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When it comes to a certain type of tax, not everyone is paying a share, according to a new report.

The New York State Comptroller's Office took a look at tax-exempt properties in the state and found that more than 25 percent of the real estate is exempt from all local taxes. The total value of the exempt properties is $680 billion. In New York City, about 32 percent of the total real estate value cannot be taxed.

Manhattan Institute senior policy analyst Nicole Gelinas said that has far-reaching implications.

The study found that some cities and towns had less than 10 percent of their real estate tax exempt, while others had more than 60 percent.

"In an era of limited resources, the impact of property tax exemptions complicates the financial picture of our local governments," Comptroller DiNapoli said in a said in a statement. "In localities with higher exemptions, taxable property owners are often carrying a much higher burden."

Crain's New York senior real estate reporter Daniel Geiger said it is a crushing burden for those who do pay taxes.

So what is tax exempt? More than you think. The study found that 41 percent is government-owned property, 28 percent is individual homeowners who qualify for special exemptions, 14 percent for nonprofit institutions including religious, academic and hospitals. Industrial and commercial properties account for 9 percent, and agriculture and public housing another 8 percent.

Some cities are resorting to creative programs to close budget gaps by negotiating agreements with tax-exempt institutions to cover the cost for the services they receive.

In New York, experts predicted this debate will continue to heat up, but any consensus is a long way off.

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