I’ve watched too many New Yorkers lose their homes, savings, and peace of mind because of a few small exemption mistakes. It’s really sad to see. But here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to happen this way. With some basic knowledge and careful attention to detail, you can dodge these expensive errors and protect your financial future.

No kidding around—getting exemptions wrong in New York is serious business. Those blunders can sneak up unexpectedly and leave you hanging right when things get tough financially speaking. Luckily, you’ve got me on your side to steer clear of these pitfalls before they trip us up. Ready? Let’s tackle this together!

Common Exemption Mistakes in New York

If you’re dealing with bankruptcy exemptions in New York, watch out for common errors that could cost you a lot of money.

I’ve seen it time and time again in my years of practice. People think they understand the exemptions, but then they make a critical error that puts their assets at risk.

Misunderstanding Bankruptcy Exemptions

One of the biggest mistakes is simply not fully grasping which exemptions you qualify for under state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. It’s not always straightforward.

You might assume certain assets are protected when they’re not. This can lead to incorrectly claiming exempt status and potentially losing property that could have been safeguarded with proper planning.

Incorrectly Claiming Exempt Status

Another frequent misstep is claiming exempt status for overtime pay and commissions that exceed the allowed threshold. In New York bankruptcy, the first 90% of earnings are exempt, but amounts over that are not protected in federal bankruptcy.

Filers need to accurately report income to avoid issues. I’ve had clients who made this mistake and it came back to bite them.

Failing to Review Assessment Roll

Property owners in New York often overlook the importance of carefully reviewing their assessment roll for clerical errors that could be costing them hundreds in taxes.

Overlooking details like square footage, property class, and exemptions can lead to expensive errors. Double-checking these elements might seem tedious but it really pays off.

Overlooking Homestead Exemption

Many New Yorkers don’t realize they can protect up to $179,950 in home equity using the state’s homestead exemption when filing bankruptcy. Failing to claim this valuable New York homestead exemption can put their home at risk.

I always remind my clients about this critical exemption. It’s essential when dealing with bankruptcy cases involving real property in New York.

How to Avoid Exemption Errors in New York

Now that we’ve covered some of the most common exemption mistakes in New York, let’s talk about how to avoid them. Because when it comes to bankruptcy and taxes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Understanding Exempt Employee Status

To qualify as an exempt employee in New York City, workers must meet certain salary basis and duties tests. Salaried administrative and executive employees earning over the minimum salary of $1,125 weekly may be exempt from overtime if their primary duties align with labor law. 

It’s a good idea for employers to regularly check how they classify employees. Mistakes here can result in expensive lawsuits and fines related to hours worked.

Protecting Retirement Accounts and Social Security

Retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, as well as Social Security benefits, are generally exempt from creditors in a New York bankruptcy. However, filers should be careful not to commingle protected funds with non-exempt assets.

It’s really important to keep these accounts separate if you want them protected. I always tell my clients to stay on top of this so they can avoid bankruptcy issues. For more information, check out this resource.

Reviewing Building Class and Square Footage

If your property’s building class or square footage is wrong on the assessment roll, you might be paying too much in taxes. Double-check these details and file an appeal with the NYC Tax Commission to potentially save a lot of money.

Catching those pesky clerical errors has helped clients pocket thousands in savings. Double-checking your real estate tax details is definitely worth the effort.

Utilizing Wildcard Exemption

New York’s wildcard exemption allows bankruptcy filers to protect up to $1,100 of any exempt personal property. This can be stacked on top of other exemptions like the vehicle exemption to shield key assets.

Think about how to get the most out of your federal wildcard exemption. With a bit of smart planning, you can make repaying creditors much easier.

Correcting Exemption Mistakes in New York

Even with the best intentions and careful planning, exemption mistakes in New York can still happen. The good news is that many of these errors can be corrected if caught in time.

Filing Appeals with Tax Commission

Property owners who find their exemptions wrongly taken away should file an appeal with either their local Board of Assessment Review or the NYC Tax Commission. To increase your chances of success, be ready with all relevant documentation.

I’ve helped many clients restore their exemptions after getting hit with an incorrect tax bill. Dealing with an erroneous assessment that removed prior exemptions can be a real headache, but it’s definitely possible to fix.

Amending Bankruptcy Filings

Bankruptcy filers who later realize they’ve made a mistake claiming exemptions can often amend their petitions to correct the error. The sooner this is caught the better to avoid issues with the bankruptcy trustee.

Waiting too long can lead to losing exempt assets. Seeking guidance from a bankruptcy attorney is advised. I always encourage my clients to let me know immediately if they think something was missed so we can fix it before it causes problems.

Providing Updated Information

Clerical errors on assessment rolls, like transposed numbers in an address or incorrect building dimensions, can usually be fixed by providing the assessor with updated information.

Owners should submit any supporting documents and follow up to ensure changes are processed. Being proactive is important to correct eligible errors like an incorrect valuation or inappropriate comparables used in the assessment. I’ve seen small errors snowball into big problems if left unaddressed.

Seeking Professional Assistance

To avoid pricey errors on your exemptions, consider consulting experienced pros like a bankruptcy attorney or tax certiorari advisor. These specialists offer vital guidance through the complexities of New York law.

I always tell my clients, when in doubt, ask for help. The stakes are too high to leave things to chance. Having an expert in your corner can make all the difference when trying to protect your assets and get a fresh start.

Key Takeaway:

Common exemption mistakes in New York can put your assets at risk. Misunderstanding exemptions, incorrect income reporting, and missing the homestead exemption are frequent errors. Regularly review property assessments for accuracy to avoid costly taxes. Keep retirement accounts separate from non-exempt funds and consider professional help to correct any issues promptly.

New York Specific Exemption Considerations

When it comes to bankruptcy cases in New York, there are some specific exemption considerations to keep in mind.

These small details can really help protect your assets and make the bankruptcy process a lot smoother.

Understanding New York Homestead Exemption

One of the most important exemptions for New Yorkers to understand is the york homestead exemption.

This exemption allows you to protect up to $179,950 of equity in your primary residence when filing for bankruptcy.

It’s crucial to note that the york homestead exemption is automatic for real property located in certain counties, including Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam.

If your home is outside of these counties, you’ll need to actively claim the exemption to safeguard your equity.

Comparing Federal and State Exemptions

A big part of handling a bankruptcy case in New York involves deciding whether to go with federal or state exemptions.

Unlike some states, New York doesn’t allow you to mix and match – you have to choose one set or the other.

In many cases, the New York exemptions are more generous, particularly when it comes to protecting home equity.

However, if you have significant assets in categories like vehicles or jewelry, the federal exemptions may be a better fit.

Take a close look at both sets of exemptions and talk to a bankruptcy attorney. They’ll help you figure out which option gives you the best protection for your situation.

Meeting Minimum Salary Requirements

If you’re an employee in New York, it’s crucial to understand the minimum salary requirements for being classified as exempt from overtime pay.

As of 2022, administrative and executive employees must earn a salary of at least $1,125 per week to qualify for the exemption.

This threshold is significantly higher than the federal minimum of $684 per week, and it’s set to increase annually until it reaches $1,250 on December 31, 2026.

To maintain your exempt status, your primary duties must align with the legal criteria for administrative or executive roles, and your salary must meet or exceed the state minimum.

When it comes to workers’ compensation benefits in New York, most payments are exempt from creditors in a bankruptcy case.

Yet, child support obligations stand out as a significant exception.

If you receive a lump-sum workers’ comp settlement, it’s essential to keep those funds separate from your other assets.

Commingling exempt and non-exempt funds can jeopardize the protected status of your workers’ compensation benefits.

Keeping a separate account for these payments can protect them from creditors if you ever have to file for bankruptcy.

Understanding New York’s exemption laws might seem tricky at first, but once you get the hang of these key points, you’ll be in a better position to make smart choices and safeguard your financial future.

Preventing Future Exemption Issues in New York

Fixing exemption mistakes in New York can really eat up your time and cause a lot of stress.

Good news. You can actually do a few things ahead of time to stop these problems from happening at all.

To keep your assets safe and avoid expensive mistakes, follow some basic best practices and stay up-to-date on changes to exemption laws.

Conducting Regular Administrative Reviews

Regularly reviewing your financial situation through administrative reviews is one of the best ways to avoid issues with exemptions. Check out this resource on New York bankruptcy exemptions for more information.

Employers really need to make sure their workers are correctly classified as exempt or non-exempt. This classification impacts everything from overtime pay to job responsibilities.

By auditing employee classifications and salary levels on a consistent basis, you can identify and correct any misclassifications before they lead to legal issues or back pay obligations.

Taking a regular look at your personal finances can help you make the most of exemptions and ensure that your assets are set up properly.

Maintaining Accurate Property Records

Avoiding mistakes with exemptions means you need to keep thorough documentation of all your properties and assets.

You’ll need to stay on top of details like square footage, any renovations you’ve done, and the unique features of your property.

Having this information readily available makes it much easier to spot and correct any discrepancies on your assessment rolls or tax bills.

If you think your property has been wrongly valued or classified, this can really help with an appeal.

I’ve seen just how important it is to keep detailed records when trying to protect my assets.

A few years ago, I discovered that the square footage of my home had been incorrectly listed on my assessment roll, resulting in a significantly inflated tax bill.

Because I had kept detailed records of my property’s dimensions and features, I was able to successfully appeal the assessment and have the error corrected, saving myself thousands of dollars in the process.

Reviewing Tax Bills for Errors

One of the simplest but most important steps you can take to prevent exemption issues is to carefully review your property tax bills each year.

These bills are packed with useful details about your exemptions, assessed value, and any updates that might affect how much tax you owe.

Checking your bills for errors or discrepancies can help you spot problems early and fix them before they turn into bigger issues.

Watch out for signs like incorrect property descriptions, missing exemptions, and sudden jumps in assessed value. These can all be red flags that something’s off.

If you do spot an error on your tax bill, don’t panic. In most cases, these issues can be resolved by contacting your local assessor’s office or filing an appeal with the appropriate review board.

Time is of the essence, so make sure you quickly gather all the documents that will back up your case.

Staying Updated on Exemption Changes

To avoid making mistakes with exemptions in New York, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date on changes to both state and federal exemption laws.

These regulations get tweaked from time to time, often due to inflation or changes in the economy.

For example, New York recently increased its homestead exemption from $165,550 to $179,950 to better protect homeowners in the face of rising property values.

Similarly, the state’s minimum salary threshold for exempt employees is set to rise incrementally each year until 2026.

Stay updated with the latest changes so you can always take full advantage of the best exemptions available.

You could benefit from chatting with experts like a financial advisor, an attorney, or even a tax pro. They’ll help you review everything and figure out if there are any tweaks you need to make in your strategy.

To avoid exemption errors, you need to stay organized, plan ahead, and pay attention to details.

If you invest some time into safeguarding what you’ve got while staying informed, you’ll dodge expensive mistakes. Plus, it’ll set up a more secure financial path for yourself and those close to you.

Key Takeaway:

Protect your assets in New York by understanding key exemptions. Keep detailed records, review tax bills for errors, and stay updated on changes to state and federal laws.


Exemption mistakes in New York can be a real nightmare, but they don’t have to be your reality. By understanding the ins and outs of exemptions, double-checking your paperwork, and seeking expert advice when needed, you can sidestep these pitfalls and keep your financial future bright.

Remember, knowledge is power. Arm yourself with the facts about exemption mistakes in New York, and you’ll be unstoppable. You’ve got this. Now go out there and take control of your financial destiny – because you deserve nothing less than the best. If you need legal support or guidance, contact me to schedule a free consultation