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If you are a resident of Nassau or Suffolk County, then you have most likely heard complaints of how expensive it is to live here. According to recent reports, Nassau and Suffolk counties are the most expensive places to live in the United States (including Hawaii, NYC, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.).
Although six factors made up the rankings in these reports, including housing, taxes, health care, child care, transportation and “other necessities” such as food, the one factor that garnishes the most complaints is “taxes.”
Another complaint you may have heard about is traffic cameras that catch unsuspecting drivers speeding or committing other traffic violations. Many complaints have come from those drivers who have received tickets, and many of the complaints have argued that the tickets are “just a money grab for the county.”
Regardless of whether it is real property taxes or traffic violation fines/tickets, Nassau and Suffolk counties seem to have this constant need to generate revenue in order to pay off debt and provide services. You can be sure that the counties are always on the lookout for ways to generate additional revenue to meet their growing fiscal demands.
One tactic that counties often use to generate revenue, which most people don’t think of, is the increase or creation of filing fees. Filing fees are a significant portion of a county’s revenue stream and can be collected for anything from a filing fee for a permit to a land recording filing fee, such as a deed or mortgage. The cost of many filing fees has increased gradually throughout the years and new ones always seem to be popping up.
For example, in Nassau County there is a new Local Law that requires any person presenting an instrument to the County Clerk for recording of deeds, mortgages, or satisfactions, or any modifications or consolidations of the foregoing, to obtain a verification of the tax map from the Nassau County Assessor’s office.
The actual tax map does not need to be filed with the recording; you just need to file verification with the recording. The Nassau County Assessor’s office is responsible for providing the tax map verification. It seems simple enough, but here’s where they get you: there is an administrative fee of $75.00 that the Assessor will collect when issuing the verification.
This is just one example of how Nassau and Suffolk counties cook up new ways to add to the “money grab.” It is important for residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties to be mindful of the added costs of living, because just because something is not called a tax, doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay it.
Eric J. Einhart
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530