Sen. Schumer: Relief in sight for homeowners taxed by IRS for septic improvement grant
Relief may be in sight for homeowners who were unexpectedly taxed by the IRS for a septic improvement grant program.
Cindy Krezel says she was excited after being approved for a $20,000 federal grant to help her pay for a new and updated septic system contractors installed in her Brentwood home in 2019.
The septic improvement grant program aims at providing $20,000-$30,000 to homeowners to replace their aging cesspools
However, Krezel says a year later she received a bill from the IRS for the grant.
“I was surprised with approximately $6,000 more in taxes than I was expecting,” she says.
Krezel thought she was doing the right thing for the environment and said she suggested the program to all her neighbors.
“Then I suddenly went around saying ‘Stop!’ Because if you could afford to buy your own system no worries, but my neighborhood is not like that, my neighborhood has people who can't afford to do that,” she says.
Sen. Chuck Schumer announced that he got the United States Department of Agriculture to agree not to tax homeowners, and he believes the IRS will follow suit.
“So, now what we need to do is get the IRS to agree with the USDA and flush this septic grant tax problem out of Long Island for good,” Schumer says.
More than 350,000 homeowners in Suffolk County still have outdated cesspools, which adversely affects the environment and the aquifer.
“It is critical to our economy and our quality of life,” says Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Our drinking water is right beneath our feet, so if we don't have protected water quality, we are undermining our present and our future and that's why this is so important.”
Krezel says she doesn't regret her decision but hopes she can get the $6,000 back.
“I'm glad that I did it, and I wouldn't go back, but that $6,000 would've been really be helpful to me,” she says.
Schumer says he expects it to take several months for the IRS to approve the tax exemption. When it happens, he says homeowners who had to pay taxes on the grant can get their money back.