By LAURA ITALIANO, NY Post
It's a dirty little secret among city commercial-property owners - that there is no penalty for lying on an application for a lower property-tax assessment.
The city agency that reviews such applications can't raise assessments, so the worst that usually happens is that the application is denied, according to the city Tax Commission and the Manhattan DA - and they're seeking legislation to close the loophole.
"For the property owner, it's, 'Heads we win, tails we win,' " said DA Robert Morgenthau. "You can ... lie with impunity."
When asked for substantiating paperwork, property owners often just withdraw their applications.
The NY Times has a good example of the abuse:
In 2004, city investigators discovered that the owner of a parking garage in Lower Manhattan had cheated the city out of roughly $210,000 in property taxes over seven years.
On Thursday, the owner, 45 Realty Associates, pleaded guilty to filing false documents, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced. The punishment? A $20,000 fine.