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On Tax Day, Bellone calls for IRS to give Suffolk County residents exemptions for septic upgrades

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Courtesy Office of Suffolk County Executive
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

Suffolk County officials want its septic improvement program to be exempt from federal taxes. It’s an effort to prevent wastewater pollution that leads to harmful algae in the bays, closing of beaches and fish kills.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said the program pays up to $30,000 to contractors directly to replace old systems with nitrogen-filtering septic tanks, and offers rebates to homeowners that have already footed the bill themselves.

He called on the IRS to provide tax relief for participating residents.

“I do not believe this money should be taxed at all. This is money that is being spent by the government to protect water quality in this region,” Bellone said, as 2021 income tax deadline closed on Monday.

Suffolk County has asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to intervene.

If it’s not tax exempt, Bellone warned similar programs around the country would struggle to find participants.

County Legislator Jason Richberg, a Democrat, accused the IRS of unfair taxation.

“Some of the folks here have told me that they are getting brought into a whole other tax bracket because of this. That’s not fair. That’s not right. There was a conversation earlier about taxation without representation. We’re getting taxed for trying to represent our water,” he said.

Richberg also called on the IRS to provide tax breaks to residents participating in the program, and return money to those who have been tax burdened in the past.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.