Jersey City tax abatements audit yields millions in uncollected taxes

Jersey City’s new mayor says the city recovered millions of dollars in years of uncollected taxes from a Jersey City developer.

Mayor Steve Fulop announced Monday recovering $2.3 million from a developer who failed to make payments to the city as part of a tax abatement agreement. According to Fulop, EQR Lincoln Urban Renewal Entity did not voluntarily turn over excess profits to the city that it agreed to in a July 2000 contract.

The mayor campaigned on a promise to audit all of the city’s tax abatement contracts to ensure the agreements were being enforced.

“What we are finding as we conduct these abatement audits is that the prior administration literally left millions of dollars on the table,” Fulop said in statement. “These are tax dollars that could be used to put cops on the street, fund recreation programs, pave roads, or simply lower the amount of taxes paid by our residents.  Failure to collect this money is unacceptable and we are going to hold these developers accountable.”

Under state statute, developers who are awarded tax abatements are limited in what they can earn in profits.

The developer was awarded a 20-year tax abatement contract in 2000 and began collecting excess profits in 2007.

“Developers who have received tax abatements from the City should be on notice that we will be enforcing their contracts to ensure the City is collecting everything it is owed and if legal action is required we are prepared to take that action,” stated Jeremy Farrell, Jersey City’s Corporation Counsel.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato