OSWEGO, NY – County taxpayers have the option of paying their tax bill in two installments. However, if they do, they face a penalty.
Legislator Dan Farfaglia (D – 24th) is proposing amending the interest rate paid on property taxes that are paid in installments.
It’s something that he mentioned at the Government, Courts and Community Affairs Committee meeting back in November, he said.
“This is an initiative that I am advocating for in honor of (former Legislator) Doug Malone. He pushed for this option to be available to the people in Oswego County and it became a local law in late 1999. But, there was also a mandatory monthly interest rate on the second payment for those who split their payments in two. He worked to help fix it,” Farfaglia told Oswego County Today.
One of Malone’s proudest moments was his success in pushing a change to the tax code, allowing county taxpayers the option of splitting tax payments in two, Farfaglia said.
Taxpayers using that option were hit with a 1-percent interest charge, however.
That was unacceptable to Malone and he continued to fight to abolish it during his tenure on the county legislature.
“The way that it works is, if your total tax bill is $1,000, you make the first payment of $500 and then the other $500 five months later. Because of the interest rate, the taxpayer then would have to pay an additional $50 on top of that,” Farfaglia explained. “This proposal would address the matter of that penalty for taking advantage of the installment process.”
He is advocating to amend the Real Property Tax Law in relation to authorizing counties to establish their own lower interest rate on real property taxes paid in installments.
His plan would amend Section 924-a of the Real Property Tax Law by adding a new subdivision 3, to allow counties to establish their own interest rate to be paid in installments, which is less than the interest rate provided for in subdivision two of this section, or to maintain the interest rate stated in subdivision two.
“The law that Doug Malone advocated for only allows us to lower it. How low that interest rate can go, or to eliminate it altogether, that will be up to the Government, Courts and Community Affairs Committee and possibly the Finance Committee as well.” Farfaglia said.
The legislator checked with Debbie Mullanaex at Real Property Taxation a long time ago and she analyzed the proposal.
At the moment, even though splitting the payments in two instead of paying it at all at once has been an option since 2000, not everyone is aware of it and most don’t use it, Farfaglia pointed out.
“At the present time, the county is NOT making a ton of revenue off of this interest rate,” he said. “So it will have no noticeable impact on county finances, practically none.”
“We are at the beginning stages of the process at the moment and no one has offered any feedback yet. I am hoping that we can work together and arrive at a bi-partisan agreement in a timely manner,” he added.