Are Governments Raising Revenue Through Regressive Taxes Disguised As Fees?

By | September 23, 2016

Question: How do government entities, whether federal, state, county or local, raise revenues in ways other than by increasing taxes?

Answer: Through increasing fees or creating an entirely new class of fees.

A perfect example of this from the recent past would be the tax map verification letter fee imposed by Nassau County back in early 2015 that was then tripled only months later.

And, unlike some taxes that impose a greater burden on citizens the more that they earn, these fees tend to be regressive in nature as the price tag is the same regardless of earnings.

As an example of this, a homebuyer purchasing a $400,000 property will pay the same amount for the above-mentioned tax map verification letter as one who is spending $5,000,000 for a mansion!

A Nassau County Example Of The Imposition Of Fees From The Past Followed By Today’s Example!

From the article ‘Real Estate Fees: Is Nassau County Price Gouging?‘ September 17, 2015…

In an article at Hallmark Abstract Service written back in January 2015, the new real estate fee was summarized…

‘Due to the implementation of the Department of Assessment’s Tax Map certification requirement, effective Wednesday, January 14th, 2015, all deeds, mortgages, satisfactions, assignments, consolidations, or any modification of the foregoing, must have their Section, Block and Lot verified with the Department of Assessment prior to presenting the instrument for recording in the Clerk’s office. Instruments presented without the Department of Assessment certification page cannot be accepted for recording.

There will be a charge of $75 per tax map verification letter (“TMVL”) and each document presented for recording will need its own TMVL.

The fee for the TMVL is being waived until March 1, 2015 but the letters must be submitted beginning now.

Documents that are exempt from the $75 fee include Powers of Attorney, Map Filings, Building Loan Agreements, Release of State Tax liens, and UCCs.‘

And now (September 2015)?

‘…Nassau is, for the second time in two years, proposing to significantly raise fees, including for mortgage recording (which would double, to $300) and tax map verification (which would triple, to $225).‘

Fast Forward To September 2016…

Some of the new fees proposed by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to help close budget gaps:

Where will it all stop? That’s a political question and the answer is not until budget ‘gimmicks’ are replaced by fiscal responsibility.

Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York and a Director of Heroes To Heroes Foundation.

He can be reached at or at 516.741.4723.

2 thoughts on “Are Governments Raising Revenue Through Regressive Taxes Disguised As Fees?

  1. Pingback: Nassau County, New York Once Again, Proposes To Gouge Real Estate Industry Participants…Or, | Hallmark Abstract LLC

  2. Pingback: Nassau County, New York Is At It Again! New Fee Proposal On The Table To Gouge Real Estate Industry Participants…Or, | Hallmark Abstract LLC

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