Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order To Support Seniors, Assist Restaurants

Image by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

ALBNAY – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an Executive Order providing additional support for two groups strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: vulnerable homeowners and the restaurant industry.

Cuomo says under the order, 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.

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,” said Cuomo. “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.”

He says 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 COVID-19 since those eligible to receive benefits are potentially susceptible to the virus. This modification will decrease density in assessor’s offices to limit the spread of COVID and ensure tax relief.

Under the 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 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 from Dec. 21 to March 2021 will ease tax burdens for restaurants and bars in communities where COVID-19 restrictions have strongly affected them. This action also provides a degree of temporary relief as New York continues to fight to ensure the federal government provides fiscal relief for small businesses. Affected restaurants should follow guidance from the Tax Department to request this relief.


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