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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York City Department of Finance
Reporting of Billboard Income (Follow-Up)


Issued: November 04, 2016
Link to full audit report 2015-F-17
Link to 30-day response

Purpose
To determine the extent of implementation of the five recommendations included in our initial report, Reporting of Billboard Income (2011-N-2).

Background
Our initial audit, which was issued August 15, 2013, found that the New York City Department of Finance (Finance) had limited documentation to support that assessors were verifying the Real Property Income Expense Statement (RPIE) billboard income. In addition, Finance was not doing enough to identify and follow up on properties with billboards. Finance had not routinely obtained and reviewed a Department of Buildings list of properties with billboards. We obtained such a listing showing 871 properties with billboards and noted that for 717 (82.3 percent), no income had been reported to Finance. Subsequently, Finance began using the list and, as a result, identified $9 million of additional billboard income estimated to generate $500,000 of tax revenue in the first year and up to $2.9 million of tax revenue in the fifth year. The City Administrative Code authorized Finance to issue penalties in each year since 1986 for non-filers or for the late or inaccurate filing of an RPIE. Finance began using penalties in September 2010, which resulted in an additional $3.4 million charged on tax bills for the failure to file a RPIE. However, penalties were not assessed for inaccurate or late RPIEs.

Key Finding

  • We found that Finance officials have made progress in correcting each of the problems we identified in our initial audit. The five recommendations contained in that report have been partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

  • Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

None


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236