A Homeowner’s Privilege of Taxation

So, you want to buy a house in New York State. You’ll pay, and not just for the house. Nope, you’ll also pay a chunk o’ change at your closing, much of it in taxes, before you even step across the threshold as a homeowner.

My current favorite: the mortgage recording tax. Ummm, yeah. Just what is that?

Here’s the answer from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance website:

New York State imposes a tax on the privilege of recording a mortgage on real property located within the state. In addition, New York City, Yonkers, and various counties impose local taxes on mortgages that are recorded in those jurisdictions.

Ooooh. That just warms my heart. I’ve got the “privilege” of recording a mortgage. Goosebumps.

When I bought my house, I got to pay a few hundred bucks to the state for the privilege. It gets better. Schenectady County, where I currently own a home, is one of those jurisdictions that collects additional mortgage recording taxes.

What, are the mortgages “recorded” with gold leaf lettering? I sure hope there’s more to this than a simple money grab.

But to you future Schenectady County homeowners, be not afraid. Why? Because the County Legislature had the opportunity tonight to do away with county’s portion of the tax. In order to continue collecting the tax, the legislature needed to pass a resolution approving its continuation. Certainly they would take the opportunity to reduce taxes and make the county more appealing to future homeowners.

The resolution passed 12-2, along party lines. The tax continues on.


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