TAXED OUT OF BUSINESS?
Biz Owners Face Showdown on Taxes Tomorrow
By Michael Horowitz
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 27- Co-op City's management has set Thursday, Feb. 28, for a showdown meeting with merchants on an impasse over real-estate taxes.
The impasse, most observers believe, is the result of the incompetence of the Riverbay Corporation Finance, whose workers failed to bill merchants for up to eight years for commercial real-estate taxes.
Collection of the back taxes Co-op City is now seeking could force a number of the community's merchants out of business.
A group of merchants, who are preparing to do battle with management officials, met with an attorney who is expected to represent them at the meeting with management officials.
There is a suspicion among some merchants, interviewed in recent weeks by the News, that the goal of top management officials is to drive them out of business.
A number of unidentified merchants have complained, in recent weeks, that payment of the real-estate-tax bills they have received would drive them out of business.
Some merchants, in recent weeks, have reportedly received tax bills up to 20 times higher than the bills they received last year.
“The tax bill I received makes absolutely no sense,” one merchant said Wednesday. “My bill is close to twice as high as the bill another merchant got for a comparable space even though the bills are supposed to be based, in large part, on the amount of space each of us occupies.”
Interviewed this week, a spokeswoman for the New York Public Library said that library officials have no intention of paying a $103,000 tax bill, for the Baychester Library Branch, which they have received to cover the period from 2004 to 2012.
Complicating the tax impasse is that a number of the community's stores have changed hands during the period between 2004 and 2012.
Presumably, storeowners are responsible for taxes owed during the period in which they owned stores in the local community.
However, it is likely that there could be complications, some of which could be of a legal nature, in efforts by recent storeowners to collect back taxes from previous storeowners.
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