Monday, February 26, 2018

Who and What is

You may have seen us promote and speak about in our social media posts. Who are they? What are they up to? Let's highlight who they are in today's blog. matches children with disabilities with children who are on track for typical cognitive development for play dates. is a501(c)(3) charity that charges nothing to any of it's participants. They rely only on the funding of donations from the community to run.

Because of their disability, they may look or act differently than other kids in class and this can create large obstacles in making friends. The way this program is designed,  kids with disabilities will have the chance to communicate and interact with children who may not be exactly like them and vice versa.

This gives the chance for children without disabilities learn to develop empathy, creating a model peer to have in school. Play dates are guided and run in fun and safely monitored environments.

The overall idea is to promote a better elementary school experience. says, "When I talk with adults with disabilities they all seem to share a similar story about when they were in elementary school…that they had never been invited to a birthday party or on a play date.  As the mother of three children, each of whom was diagnosed with autism by the age of two, this broke my heart.  I didn’t want this future for my own children or anyone else’s child."

If you feel this is an organization you would like to your child to participate in, disability or not, there is an application process you can learn more about on Peer Pals' site here:

PeerPals is also actively looking for special education teachers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, aba teachers, and regular education teachers to volunteer. If you feel this might fit your calling, check out how to volunteer here:

Keep in Mind, Sean Acosta is being honored as their Community Champion!  Learn more about this evening event here: 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Why are Property Taxes a Thing? What do they do?

Understanding Property Taxes
Property taxes are often not a favorite subject for people to discuss. In fact, most people who pay property taxes believe they are paying taxes that are way too high for the services they are receiving. In general, property taxes are based on the value of property you own. This is true for people who own real estate, vehicles and business property.

But in addition to how they come up with tax amounts many people are unaware of exactly what services they get from paying their taxes. It is important for you to understand what your taxes are based on and what your taxes pay for within your government. Basically, property taxes pay for a town to operate. They pay for schools, parks, government officials, road maintenance and first responders.

How Municipalities Create Their Tax Base

The first step for a municipality is coming up with a list of property value amounts within their district for real estate, vehicles and business property. Then, a town or city taxable rate is created by coming up with a budget of town wide expenses. From this, the municipal government creates a mill rate for real estate property and a tax rate for vehicles and business property to pay for the municipal budgeted amounts needed during a set period of time. These tax rates are equivalent to creating a percentage of value needed on these properties to pay for the governmental services to operate the community.

Property Valuation

In addition to understanding what your taxes pay for, it equally important to understand what things you own gets taxed and how they come up with the value of your property. Property taxes are assessed only on the things you own substantial value that fits into the category of real estate, vehicles or business equipment. Only these items are taxable, personal property, furniture and jewels etc. are not taxable.

Each taxable property is placed in a list by the town tax department and are valued by a town or city assessment office. The real estate of a town is compiled and put into a list called the Grand List. The motor vehicle list and business equipment lists are separate from the Grand List.

Once the lists are made, the tax department obtains values on each property owned. This is done by having value placed on the property by assessors who are educated in the field of property valuations and know how to assess values of property. The basic premise is that you are only taxed based on the value of what you own. This applies to real estate, vehicles and business equipment. 

Once your property is given a value, that value amount is then multiplied by the town’s mill rates and tax rates. This is what creates the amount you pay in taxes each year. The area that is often up to debate within this taxation system is the valued amount of property. This is the area that property owners often dispute in order to lower their taxes.

Contact us today if you have any questions. Don't forget, 

Nassau County filing deadline has been extended to April 2nd, 2018.
Suffolk County deadline is May 15th, 2018.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Which Types of Property Tax Relief are Available to Taxpayers?

To reduce the homeowners' property tax burden, there are various property tax relief programs available in every state. Of course, certain criteria must be met to qualify for the various property tax relief programs. 

For New York, the following property tax relief programs are available:

  • Property tax relief credit- to qualify, you must reside in a school district complying with their state property tax cap, have income less or equal to $275,000, have paid the 2017 school property taxes, and have received the Enhanced STAR or Basic STAR credit or exemption.

  • Basic STAR recipients- recipients who are eligible for this credit will gain a Basic STAR savings' percentage according to income. Also, there are credit limitations. 

  • New York City enhanced real property tax credit- this is for households with a gross income lower than $200,000. Also, you must have resided in the same residence of New York City for at least six months, must be a resident of New York City for an entire tax year, can't be claimed as a taxpayer's dependent on his/her federal income tax return, had a residence not completely exempted by real property taxes, and meet other conditions as a renter or homeowner. The Form NYC-208 has more details about this tax credit. 

  • Property tax exemptions- besides the STAR program, other common property tax exemptions for New York include the senior citizens exemption, veterans' exemption, exemption for persons with disabilities, and exemptions for agricultural properties. There are a lot more property tax exemptions than these mentioned. 

The following are other property tax relief programs which apply to every state, including New York:

  • Homestead exemption- property taxes are reduced on normally a principal residence through excluding a part of the property value from taxes. 

  • Circuit breaker programs- contracting with traditional homestead exemption through a variable, such as property value or household income, the eligible resident is someone who's property tax exceeds a certain level of his/her income. 

  • Expenditure limit- a ceiling is placed on how much the local government can generate in revenue. 

  • A Limit on the assessed value/the tax rate- is set in place when the value/tax rate is increased in a given year.

If you have any questions, please contact us today:  (516) 484-0654 or (631) 484-0654 |

Monday, February 5, 2018

Places to Visit During President’s Day Weekend

Lower East Side, the Hidden Gem of New York

President's Day is coming up and families love to travel. One thing a family can do is incorporate history in their trip. If you are going to travel or stay local, maybe think of historic places near New York City. When people visit New York City, they think of Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street and maybe ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy. 

However, one of the most overlooked districts of Manhattan is the ‘Lower East Side,’ known affectionally by locals as L.E.S. This old neighborhood is steep in culture and history, and a visit will reward you with unexpected discoveries, excitement, and knowledge for you and your family. Such a learning experience of our history is so close by.

Getting to LES is easy. Just take the F.M.J or Z trains and get off at Delancey and Essex. When you walk up the stairs you will be at the heart of LES. Here are a few ‘must go’ and ‘must do’ things when you visit LES.

1. The Tenement Museum 

If you have kids, then a tour of this restored tenement building is a must. It will make them appreciate the hardships our forefathers endured to live their dreams. They will be shocked by the squalor conditions where thousands of people were crammed into without running water or basic toilet facilities.

2. Katz’s Delicatessen

This 24/7 jam-packed Jewish deli opened for business back in 1888. During WW II the male owners all served in the armed forces. The family left behind began the popular tradition and slogan “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army.”

Katz’s achieved Hollywood fame when the comedy hit ‘When Harry met Sally' was filmed there. None English speaking movie fans will never forget that deli scene. Waves of Asian tourist still come to Katz and order NYC's biggest and meanest Pastrami sandwich that Sally had.

3. Economy Candy 

'Economy' is not a candy store as much as a library for candies. If you can not find a particular brand of candy, then the country probably does not exist. Russian chocolates are not well known, but it is delicious and make wonderful treats.

4. Bialystoker Synagogue 

Construction for this synagogue began in 1826 by Russian Jews that is present-day Poland. This historic site is significant to both Jews and American blacks. In the early days of the civil rights struggle, it was a rest stop for the Underground Railroad movement. Runaway African slaves from the South found sanctuary in the attic of Bialystoker Synagogue.

5. Mr. Purple / Hotel Indigo (180 Orchid St)

Mr. purple is the penthouse restaurant-bar on top of the boutique Hotel Indigo. It represents the new chic in LES. It has excellent views and a vibrant feel. Just beware, on weekend nights Mr. Purple will be jam-packed with young cruisers looking for quick hookups.

6. Freeman’s 

You will definitely impress your guest as a seasoned explorer when you take them to Freeman’s, a hidden gem in one of New York City's secret streets.

The walk down the graffiti-filled Freeman Alley is a trip in itself. At the end of the alley is Freeman’s, a very cool restaurant with delicious foods that is just as amazing.

A visit to Lower Eastside would make an excellent weekend destination during Presidents Day, for a whole family or just a single adult, for a day for the entire weekend. 

We hope one or two of these locations sparks your interest. Either yourself or you and your family will benefit taking a trip to one of these historic and local locations.