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COVID-19: Latimer Proposes Legislation To Ease Financial Burden On Westchester Residents

Westchester County Executive George Latimer has proposed legislation to allow taxpayers to pay property taxes at a later date without penalty.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer has proposed legislation to allow taxpayers to pay property taxes at a later date without penalty. Photo Credit: Westchester County

As the battle against novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rage on, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is calling on the Board of Legislator to alleviate taxpayer burdens.

Latimer said that his office has submitted legislation that would allow taxpayers who have economic hardships due to the pandemic to apply for a delay in paying county property taxes.

The current due date of Thursday, April 30 would be extended through Wednesday, July 15 without any penalty, though it would not apply for mortgage lenders or banks.

Latimer noted that the hardship must be caused by the public emergency relating to COVID-19. Penalties under this provision could be waived for a two and one-half month period including the months of May and June and up to July 15. 

If taxes are not paid by the July 15 deadline, the 5 percent penalty would begin to run as of July 16.

A group of town officials will help develop the criteria to qualify for the hardship determination and maintain a list of taxpayers within their jurisdiction qualifying for the hardship determination, Latimer said. Hardship determinations can be based upon objective criteria related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as loss of employment, illness, closure of a business or other loss of income or revenue. 

As of Thursday, April 2, there were 11,567 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Westchester, up from approximately 10,000. There have been three more Westchester residents who died due to the virus.

“People in this county are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have lost their jobs.  I have said many times that the county is in a ‘freefall’ and residents are experiencing the same thing," Latimer said. "This deferment of taxes for two months is a way to buy some time for the residents here to keep themselves afloat until this pandemic passes. I want them to be focused on staying healthy, keeping a roof over their head and food on the table – the rest can wait.”

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