NY officials trying to sort out tax rebates

ALBANY. N.Y. (NEWS10) – As many are working on filing this year’s taxes, lawmakers say their phones have been ringing off the hook with people asking why they are still waiting for checks from last year’s returns.

New homeowners that qualify for a tax break through the star program are supposed to receive a check from the state, instead of an upfront rebate.

If you have not received your check from the state for your star credit from last year’s taxes, you are likely not alone.

“My staff has made calls, I’ve made calls, they keep telling us in the tax department, we don’t know, we don’t know why these checks are late,” Senator James Tedisco said.

Lawmakers are still looking for answers.

The department’s executive deputy commissioner told lawmakers at Tuesday’s hearing

The state changed how the department finds out who is eligible for credits which has made it more difficult to issue checks.

“Did we test this at all before we did it, the timing did not allow that, right because we moved too quickly,” Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R) said.

“My constituents aren’t happy, I know there’s constituents all over the state that aren’t happy. People still have not received them and it’s just a flat out mess,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said.

Assembly Minority Leader Kolb wants to clean up the mess by having the state go back to taking the rebate out of your tax total before you pay them, instead of you waiting for a check.

“The system worked just fine the way it was, the exemption up front, we should go back to that, I’ve co-sponsored a bill to do just that,” Kolb said.

Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald from Cohoes agrees and say check delays will not encourage people to move to New York.

“Welcome to New York state, by the way, I’ll gladly give you an exemption in four or five months if you pay your tax bill today, it doesn’t make sense,” Assemblyman McDonald said.

The tax department says it’s hard to estimate how many checks still have to be sent. The program anticipated serving 120,000 people but received over 200,000 registrations.

As for the law, the department says the deadline for rebate returns is September 15 or as soon as practicable and they don’t receive some information until December.

Lawmakers argue if the state wants to give breaks to homeowners and bring people into New York, offer them breaks early, instead of offering a promise that many are still waiting to be delivered.

Senator Tedisco sponsors a bill that would require the tax department to pay a penalty if the department fails to issue next year’s credits by the September deadline, but other lawmakers argue taxing the state is not practical or realistic.

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