Costco Tries Using Tourism Loophole to Get Tax Breaks In New York

Multi-billion dollar Costco is using a tax loophole in New York to gain tax advantages for the new stores being built there. According to an article in a July 30, 2014 Newsday editorial, the club retail giant is turning a ‘tourism’ exception to the state ban on tax breaks for retail projects to its advantage in stores it wants to build in Syracuse and Oceanside.

According to Newsday:

“State law bans IDAs from giving tax breaks to retail projects, but it contains three exceptions — for projects located in distressed areas, offering services not available in the area, or related to tourism. The last one is the same notorious loophole Babylon Town’s IDA used several years ago to give a boneheaded tax break to Tanger Outlets at the Arches in Deer Park. Costco received tax breaks last year from two upstate IDAs via those exceptions. One store in Rochester qualified as being in a distressed area; another in Syracuse was judged to be a tourist destination.”

The Long Beach Herald ran a story in September, 2014, saying that the Costco received approval from the local jurisdiction to build.

“While Costco got its approval to build in Oceanside, it has no so far received the tax breaks from Nassau County it sought. Costco applied for tax exemptions through the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency in June, but IDA’s executive director Joseph Kearney said the board has taken ‘no action’ on the application.”

The new store is scheduled to open this year, but we can’t confirm whether construction has begun, and according to the Nassau County IDA, nothing has been approved on the tax breaks.