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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 62

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans’ organizations (American Legion Post) (open to public) - Real Property Tax Law, § 452:

If a part of an American Legion Post is open to the general public or is regularly leased out to other private organizations or private persons, such portion is not entitled to an exemption from real property taxation. An occasional renting out to private parties would be regarded as incidental to the operation of the Post and would not affect its tax exemption under section 452 of the Real Property Tax Law.

We have received an inquiry concerning the taxable status of real property owned by an American Legion Post which opens its hall to the general public for suppers every Saturday evening, opens its bar to the general public and, on occasion, rents its hall for receptions.

Section 452 of the Real Property Tax Law provides an exemption from taxation of real property owned by veterans’ organizations. Such statute provides that real property owned by a veterans’ organization which is “actually and exclusively used and occupied by such corporation” shall be exempt from taxation, special ad valorem levies and special assessments, except for certain levies imposed for cost of capital construction of the improvements specified in section 490 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Clearly, in order to be entitled to the exemption provided by section 452, the use and occupancy of the property must be restricted exclusively to the members and the families of the members of the organization. If the Post is open to the general public or is regularly leased out to various other private organizations or private persons, it would not be entitled to the exemption.

It should be noted that subdivision 2 of section 452 provides for an apportionment. Thus, if only a portion of the property is open to the general public, only such portion would be taxable and the remaining portion, if it is actually and exclusively used and occupied by the veterans’ organization, would be entitled to exemption.

May 18, 1972

Updated: