Cuomo signs Executive Order to provide support for groups hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Cuomo signs Executive Order to provide support for groups hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Moses Kuwema

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday signed an Executive Order providing additional support for two of the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic - vulnerable homeowners and the restaurant industry. 

Under Executive Order 202.83, local governments can continue to provide property tax exemptions for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities who own property through 2021 by lifting an in-person renewal requirement which would put vulnerable New Yorkers at risk of infection from COVID. 

Additionally, the sales tax deadline for restaurants in orange zones which have been required to suspend indoor dining will be extended until March.

"COVID has tested our collective strength and put a strain on finances for so many New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. 

"We're taking measures that will provide much needed tax relief for some of those hardest hit by this pandemic - New Yorkers over 65 and our restaurant industry. With the finish line in sight, we will continue to support New Yorkers wherever possible and fight to get the federal government to deliver real relief for those who are struggling."

Thousands of low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities rely on property tax exemptions annually to remain in their homes. 

To claim or renew benefits, eligible seniors and disabled New Yorkers typically line up at town halls across the state to file the required documentation. 

This raises obvious concerns amid the COVID-19 public health emergency as those eligible to receive these benefits are among those most susceptible to the virus. 

This modification will decrease density in assessor's offices to limit the spread of COVID and ensure critical tax relief.

Under the Governor's Executive Order, local governments can automatically renew 2021 benefits for all property owners who received the benefit in 2020 unless the locality has reason to believe an individual has changed their primary address, added another owner to the deed, transferred the property to a new owner, or passed away.

In addition to the flexibility provided for these benefits, the Governor's Executive Order provides a three-month extension to the deadline for restaurants in orange zones, including New York City, to turn over sales taxes to the state. 

Restaurants in impacted areas were required to suspend indoor dining temporarily. 

Extending the sales tax deadline for payment of taxes due on December 21 to March 2021 will ease tax burdens for restaurants and bars in communities where COVID-19 metrics necessitated additional restrictions. 

This action also provides a degree of temporary relief as New York continues to fight to ensure the federal government provides real fiscal relief for these small businesses. Affected restaurants should follow guidance from the Tax Department to request this relief.