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Small Claims Hearings


A few weeks ago on June 12, 2020, I reported that the County was concerned that if the deadline to file small claims tax filings in Nassau County was extended, there would be a serious possibility of potential tax refunds. The County also issued new rules as to procedures for the upcoming SCAR hearings. Specifically, the County initially passed a local rule, which limited the amount of time a petitioner could file its proof of damages after the petitioner filed its small claims petition. However, after much opposition from law firms and tax reduction companies, including the Litt Law Group, the Judge ruled that this new rule was illegal; and therefore, struck the rule down. We now have the statutory 45 days from the date a petition is filed to properly prepare for SCAR hearings.

Moreover, the Court initially did not confirm whether August 5, 2020 would be the deadline to file SCAR petitions. The Court deferred to the Governor’s orders. However, after several additional communications with the County and the Court, the August 5, 2020 deadline date has indeed been confirmed. See the attached letter dated June 20, 2020. Also, please refer to the attached Newsday article.

With this being said, the possibility of tax refunds, rather than tax savings for 2020/2021, has become even more of a reality. The ability for the Court to handle upwards of 100,000 hearings in less than a few weeks does not seem possible. This means the tax relief in the upcoming October 2020/21 school tax bills will be in the form of refunds. However, it is unclear when refunds will be issued, as the County’s finances are seriously strained due to the recent crisis.

Keep in mind that the County must cover all refunds due — including the County portion, which is approximately 20% of the taxes paid, as well as the school and town portions. As a result, there will probably be a significant increase in the upcoming year's County taxes due to the loss of sales tax revenues, as well as the need to issue tax refunds. This will also affect mortgage escrows, as they will rise substantially to cover the higher taxes due.

We will know more as the summer progresses, and will see how the proposed mediation/settlement process works. This is  uncharted territory and it is unclear whether the County will have its tax warrant finalized in time to reduce taxes as ordered by the Court. We will keep everyone posted.