Sunday, April 29, 2018

WHO GETS THE 2% REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX


A 2% transfer tax is paid by the buyer for each East End real estate closing and the money is sent to the town where the property is located.  The Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund (CPF) is a public program managed by each of the East End Towns for the protection of farmland, open space and community character including historic structures.

The CPF was established by voter referendum in 1998, when voters in the five towns (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold) approved a new real estate transfer tax of 2% on each transaction occurring in these towns.  This is a one-time tax that the buyer of real estate is required to pay when purchasing improved property or vacant land.  The first $250,000 in East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island, and $150,000 in Riverhead and Southold of the purchase price of improved property and $100,000 and $75,000 for unimproved land, is exempt from the tax.  In 2016, voters in all five towns approved a third referendum, extending the collection of the tax through 2050 and giving each town the opportunity to invest up to 20% of the CPF revenues in water quality projects.

First time homebuyers are exempt from the tax (except Riverhead). The exemption applies to property purchased as a primary residence by one or more persons, each of whom is a first-time homebuyer, provided that certain criteria regarding household income and the purchase price are met.

There is a CPF Advisory Board, composed of citizens from each town, that makes recommendations on acquisitions to the respective town boards.  For more information see references below or contact Southold Town, Suffolk County or New York State.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

IS FACEBOOK HISTORY?

At the end of 2017, Facebook saw 1.4 billion people, on average, log on daily - more than any other social network.  Most of us are wondering what did  Cambridge Analytica really do with the Facebook information and should I close my account or do something to protect my personal information on Facebook?  Could  what happened during the elections, be the beginning of the end of the goliath social network?  While most of us agree that Facebook is too big to collapse, we are still left feeling uneasy about the safety of the personal information we put on the social network, and the long reach that Facebook seems to have over what we naively thought was our “private” lives.  
Content Square 1.
Why is the scandal such a big deal?
              While Facebook used personal information before, for things like ad targeting, it was based on the information provided by the user—political affiliation, location, pages liked, etc. This time, according to
The Guardian, Cambridge Analytica “used personal information [through Facebook] without permission to build a system that could target U.S. voters with personalized political advertisements based on their psychological profile.” To obtain this information, Facebook users were prompted to take a quiz called “thisismydigitallife,” which then gave Cambridge Analytica access to both their own and their friends’ personal information. Even though a little over 270,000 users took the quiz, because they gave access to more than just their own information, researchers were able to obtain data from 50 million user profiles.
This breakthrough has also brought to light the fact that Facebook collects metadata from its users. For those using the Messenger app, Facebook requests access to users’ contacts, call and text history, locations and time spent there. Facebook attempts to make it clear that the reason they compile and track this information is to help users connect with people they care about and have a better experience on the social platform.
Content Square 2.

What should I do now?
           

           While we’ve seen swarms of people leave Facebook over the scandal, overall, the vast majority of users have moved on with their lives and continued to scroll through their newsfeeds. With the information being presented as of now, Facebook is attempting to regain their credibility  by creating stronger privacy settings and promising to make amends by publishing privacy shortcuts that will allow you to quickly access privacy.  Also, Congress has entered the scene and Mark Zuckerberg is currently in Washington saying, “sorry,”  and promising big changes in how they protect their billions of users’ information.  In the meantime, it’s important to remember that all users have options when it comes to the site. To protect your privacy, consider turning off features such as location-based settings and automatic updates. Review your current settings to see what data you’re making available and consider whether you really need to have instant gratification or is protection of your privacy a better choice.  Don’t give all the information requested just because they ask!  Remember, it’s impossible to retrieve what you have  put out there in cyberspace, so think twice, even three times before you reveal personal data.