Market news :: Savings, Markets & Financial industry

New york city gives 78 million worth of tax breaks to dead people

IF YOU thought negative gearing was unfair, get a load of this.

An audit of New York Citys finances reveals the Big Apples administration lost out on a stunning $78 million ($US59 million) in revenue over the past six year mostly because of property tax exemptions given to senior citizens who had passed away.

This is just an irresponsible way to approach tax exemptions that are sorely needed by elderly New Yorkers, Comptroller Scott Stringer, who released the findings, told the New York Post.

This is money we could have used to build affordable housing, or to help people who needed it the most. To improve our homeless facilities, where 57,000 people slept in shelters last night.

With $US59 million, I calculate the city could have hired 700 new police officers, he added.

The audit analysed a program called the Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption (SCHE), which reduces property taxes for homeowners over 65 who earn $US37,400 or less a year.

People who qualify for that program also qualify for the Enhanced School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption, which exempts the first $US62,200 of the value of a home from school taxes.

Stringer said the citys Department of Finance is supposed to check every two years whether homeowners are still eligible for the exemptions but went 10 years without requesting owners to certify they were alive and eligible.

I cannot believe for the life of me that over 10 years, the city never wondered what happened when someone died and the tax break continued, Stringer said.

As a result, 3246 city properties were improperly given the SCHE exemption, resulting in a loss of at least $US35,976,029 ($A46.6m). Those same properties also benefited from the STAR exemption, which amounted to the loss of another $US10,460,540 ($A13.3m), the audit said.

On top of that, 71 properties owned by corporations were given tax exemptions that they werent eligible for as well, resulting in yet a third loss of $US1,377,622 ($A1.8m) between 2011 and 2016.

During those same years, the city also lost out on $US11,176,036 ($A14.9m) because 573 properties with four or more units were given excessive exemptions.

Believe it or not, theres still more, Stringer said. What we see as we peel the onion back is we are getting closer to $US100 million ($A133m). We need them (the Department of Finance) to stop this immediately.

This story first appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.

Toyota corolla on track to be our favourite car for the third year in a row beating mazda holden ford

THE Toyota Corolla is on track to be Australia’s favourite car for an unprecedented third year in a row after topping the sales charts in November.

Confidential industry figures show the Corolla has an almost unassailable lead of almost 3500 cars a months worth of sales going into December, after leading the passenger-car race for eight of the past 11 months.

The Corolla has swapped the lead five times with its arch rival, the Mazda3 small car, which had led the market for the previous two years and ended the Holden Commodores winning streak in 2011.

Industry insiders have forecast a record year, with the market widely expected to eclipse 1.1 million sales for the fourth year in a row, and overtake the previous record set in 2013, when 1,136,227 vehicles were reported as sold.

Sales across the entire new-car market are up by 3.6 per cent year-to-date and Toyota is on track to celebrate its 13th year in a row as our favourite automotive brand.

Utes continue to have a strong presence in the Top 10, with the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger workhorses filling two of the top four positions in November.

Holden Commodore sales were down, but as a sign of the fragmenting market both it and the locally-made Toyota Camry sedan managed to hold onto the fifth and sixth place outright in November.

Holden also managed to overtake Hyundai for third place in November. The two brands are in a tight battle for a podium Top Three finish for the year.

If Holden gets beaten by Hyundai, it will be the first time in Holden history it has not been on the Top Three sellers list.

Official figures for the month are due to be published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on Thursday.

Top 10 cars in November (preliminary figures):

Toyota Corolla 3430

Toyota HiLux 3370

Mazda3 3105

Ford Ranger 3030

Holden Commodore 2615

Toyota Camry 2570

Hyundai i30 2500

Nissan Navara 2290

Nissan XTrail 2225

Mazda CX-5 2170

Top 10 brands in November (preliminary figures)

Toyota 18,400

Mazda 9805

Holden 8890

Hyundai 8415

Nissan 7235

Ford 6330

Mitsubishi 5165

Volkswagen 4440

Subaru 3885

Honda 3070

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling