Questions about not-for-profit tax exemptions


Not-for-profit corporations hold property in service of their missions: they own buildings that house day cares and mosques, arts organizations and churches, food pantries and theaters; they own land for community gardens, playgrounds and farms. State Law is clear that they are all entitled to property tax exemptions from the date they purchase the property.

But New York City’s taxation system puts community property at risk: when such organizations do not apply for and annually renew the tax exemptions they are entitled to get from the City under New York State law, the City sells the accumulated debt to private entities for collection and potential foreclosure.

Below is information about which community properties are currently at risk, how to fix the problem, how to apply for property tax exemptions for not-for-profits each year, and what to do if a property has a tax lien or goes into foreclosure. 

The NYC Department of Finance published lists of not-for-profit properties at risk in response t our advocacy! Please check the lists for places that matter to your communities and help connect advocates and organizers.


Is our community property heading towards the 2017 Lien Sale?
Non Profit Owned Properties on the eligible for the 2017 Tax Lien Sale are listed here (this is the 60-day list). (Excel is here). The city is planning to sell their liens on May 15, 2017. Most are on this list due to property tax exemption mix ups, though some are there because they have not paid their water bills. You can see a map of them and a list that we are compiling (which includes organization names) here.

Our property is on the list! What do we do?
Here are two routes through which groups can try to get relief:

  • The NYC Department of Finance, Tax Lien Ombudsperson: (212) 440-5408
  • The NYC Department of Finance, Office of the Taxpayer Advocate,, (212) 312-1800

Is our organization’s proporty heading towards the 2018 Lien Sale?
Non Profit Owned Properties that need to renew their exemption for 2017 year are listed hereThese properties will be headed to the 2018 lien sale if the exemptions are not renewed. The exemption renewal deadline has been extended to May 1, 2017. Here are the renewal instructions.

Please check these lists for places that matter to your communities and help connect advocates and organizers!


I have to APPLY for property tax exemptions?
Yes! Property tax exemptions are NOT provided automatically, even if an organization has been determined to be exempt from federal income taxes.

Where can I find the application?
NYC Department of Finance website:

How do I submit my application?
Print, fill out and mail the application and materials to:

New York City Department of Finance
Commercial Exemptions–NFP
59 Maiden Lane, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10038


When do I have to submit my renewal application?
Every year. This year, renewal applications are due on January 5, 2017.

How do I submit my renewal and what information will I need?
You must submit your renewal applications online at will need your user ID and password that was included in a letter sent by the Department of Finance in October. If you did not receive a letter in October with this information call 311 and ask to speak with a representative in the Not-for-profit Tax Exemptions Unit.


You! Do you know an organization that owns a property that should be tax exempt? Don’t assume that it is. Find out from the administrators and help them apply for and keep the exemption that will save the community thousands of dollars.

Many small not-for-profits have never applied for available property tax exemptions due to a lack of information; their members simply pay property taxes as billed to them every year. In many cases, individual members actually receive and pay the bills for years or decades out of personal funds because they see the risk of losing their church, garden or other key community property as too great and have never realized that other options exist. When those members move away, die or stop paying for personal reasons, community anchors are threatened. The tax lien sale allows properties acquired through charity and public money to become private properties when buyers of the tax debt foreclose.

NYC Department of Finance, Commercial Exemptions, Not-for-Profit Unit
For help with property tax exemption applications and renewals, or if you receive a tax bill that you think you should not have received, call 311 and ask for the “Department of Finance Not-for-Profit Tax Exemptions Unit.” Their website is You can email

The NYC Department of Finance, Tax Lien Ombudsperson
If you receive a notice of a pending tax lien, call (212) 440-5408. See

The NYC Department of Finance, Office of the Taxpayer Advocate
When you are having trouble with the Department of Finance Exemptions Unit, the Ombudsperson or any other part of the Department:
Call: (212) 312-1800

Legal Services
If facing a foreclosure proceeding; they might not be able to represent you, but may be able to refer you to an attorney who will:

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A,, call (718) 487-2300, ask for Foreclosure Uni

Brooklyn Law School, (718) 780-7994, or

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts,, (212) 319-2787

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest,, (212) 244-4664

Lawyers Alliance for New York,, (212) 219-1800,

Your City Council Member
Visit to find your City Council Member by entering your home address.

New York City Office of the Public Advocate
(212) 669-7250
1 Centre Street, 15 Floor North, New York, NY 10007
Walk-in hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm


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