What is tax abatement?

1 min readLast updated December 4, 2023by Rachel Carey

Learn what tax abatement is, how it alleviates tax burdens, and what benefits and relief it offers homeowners and the economy.


  • Tax abatements reduce tax burdens to benefit specific demographics. 

  • Property tax abatement provides relief for low- and medium-income homeowners. 

  • The 421a tax abatement program is a property tax exemption for new construction of affordable housing in New York City.  

  • Business tax abatement reduces or eliminates taxes for companies in exchange for creating jobs and investing in the area. 

As the term suggests, tax abatement eases, reduces, or outright removes certain tax burdens to benefit specific demographics. Its primary objectives are to assist homeowners, stimulate economic growth, invigorate struggling communities, and incentivize investment.  

That said, the goals and intentions of tax abatement programs vary in nature and extent from one type and jurisdiction to another.  

What are some examples of tax abatement? 

Local and state governments create a variety of tax abatement programs to further economic development agendas and community improvement goals. The two most widely used are property and business tax abatements. 

Property tax abatement programs provide relief from property tax burdens faced by low- and medium-income homeowners and other eligible persons, as well as those living in neighborhoods experiencing an increase in property values.  

Business tax abatement programs offer reductions in business taxes to stimulate economic growth, attract investment, and facilitate job creation in economically depressed areas.  

What is a property tax abatement? 

By reducing or eliminating property taxes for a specific period, property tax abatements can be a lifesaver for homeowners who are struggling to make ends meet, especially in areas where spiraling property values and taxes could force long-term residents out of their homes. 

Consider the following scenario:  

A single parent owns a modest home in a neighborhood that has recently attracted trendy buyers. The desirability of the location has led to a significant increase in property values, resulting in higher property taxes and making the property unaffordable.  

By qualifying for a property tax abatement, the homeowner receives a substantial reduction in their property taxes. This alleviates financial stress and reduces the chances of being priced out of the neighborhood. 

New York City’s 421a tax abatement is a real estate tax exemption introduced to stimulate the construction of new residential buildings in the city. By offering incentives to developers, including reduced property taxes, for providing affordable housing units in their projects, the 421a tax abatement has played a significant role in the development of affordable housing in the city. 

What is business tax abatement? 

Business tax abatement programs reduce or eliminate certain taxes for companies, typically in exchange for creating jobs and investing in the area. 

The following scenario illustrates how a business tax abatement works: 

A city has witnessed a deterioration in its downtown commercial area. Many retail outlets and businesses have relocated to the suburbs, and the local job market has dwindled. The city wishes to revitalize the downtown district, fill vacant office space and retail shopfronts, and create local job opportunities. 

The city introduces a program offering business tax abatement for a set period to companies that establish operations in the downtown area. The abatement attracts several retail shops, restaurants, and businesses, contributing to the economic and social revitalization of the downtown area. 

Is tax abatement for you? 

Tax abatement can be a game-changer for individuals and businesses:  

  • If you are struggling with property taxes as an individual, property tax abatement can significantly reduce your financial burden. 

  • If you are a business owner looking to invest in an area, business tax abatement can make your expansion plans more financially viable. 

Here are some ways that you might be eligible for tax abatement: 

1. Property tax abatement

  • You are a low- or medium-income homeowner. 

  • You live in a neighborhood experiencing rapid property value increases. 

  • You’re a first-time homebuyer. 

  • You’re a senior living on a fixed income. 

  • You are disabled or a veteran. 

  • You own a historic property. 

2. Business tax abatement

  • You’re a new business willing to set up operations in designated areas. 

  • You’re a startup or tech company. 

  • You’re a retail shop, restaurant, or service provider. 

  • You’re a business committed to job creation. 

  • Your company contributes to the economic development of specific regions. 

How can Unbiased help you with tax abatement? 

Tax abatement is a powerful tool that can provide much-needed financial relief and assistance to individuals and businesses alike. Whether you're a homeowner struggling with property taxes or a business owner looking to expand, tax abatement programs may offer the solution you need.  

A financial advisor you can trust can help you understand the complex world of tax abatement, assess your eligibility, and determine the potential benefits.  

If you are unsure whether tax abatement is the right path for you or your business, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. By answering just a few questions, we'll connect you to an SEC-regulated financial advisor perfectly suited to your needs. Get matched with an advisor.

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.