Some NYC Property Owners Double-Charged on Tax Bill

Some property owners say their bank accounts were debited twice

Some New York City property owners are perplexed after they say the city apparently double-charged them on on their property taxes. 

One couple, Pamela and Chris Chen of Battery Park City, say they paid a $7,000 tax bill for their two properties in Queens and the Financial District last week through an electronic funds transfer from their bank account. On Tuesday, the city appeared to have dipped into their account again, charging another $7,000. 

"We definitely authorized the payment in June but we didn't authorize the payment today," said Pamela Chen. "It was definitely very alarming and upsetting." 

When the I-Team called 311 to ask about the problem, a supervisor said the Department of Finance has put out an alert that stated: "If you are having a problem with your Department of Finance Property Tax electronic funds transfer payment, including being charged twice, please email the NYC e-file Help Desk."

The scope of the double-charging is unclear, but the Chens say when they called 311 Tuesday, operators indicated there were multiple complaints about unauthorized electronic fund transfers. 

Calls and emails from the I-Team to City Hall and the Department of Finance were not immediately answered Tuesday, and it remains unclear how many people were affected, or how soon refunds can be expected.

The Chens are worried that other people are being double-taxed without knowing, especially on the first of the month, when many bills are due. 

"If you need to pay your mortgage and you don't have the money, and then the city is not giving it back to you, what if it goes into overdraft?" said Chris Chen. 

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