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Volume 11 - Opinions of Counsel SBRPS No. 107

Opinions of Counsel index

Senior citizens exemption (ownership requirement) (joint tenancy – aged parent and child with disability; exemption option); Persons with disabilities and limited incomes exemption (ownership requirement) (joint tenancy - child with disability and aged parent; exemption option); School tax relief [STAR] exemption (ownership) (joint tenancy – aged parent and child with disability; eligibility for enhanced exemption); Exemption option - senior citizens and persons with disabilities and limited incomes (enhanced school tax relief [STAR] exemption) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 425, 455, 459-c, 467:

Where property is co-owned by a parent eligible for the senior citizens exemption and a child eligible for the persons with disabilities and limited incomes exemption, and the owners exercise the option given them in section 455 of the Real Property Tax Law to receive the senior citizens exemption, the property is also entitled to receive the enhanced school tax relief exemption.

We have received an inquiry for our opinion as to the eligibility of a parcel for an enhanced school tax relief [STAR] exemption (Real Property Tax Law, §425(4)) when property is jointly owned by a parent who would qualify for a senior citizens exemption (RPTL, §467) and a child who would qualify for a persons with disabilities and limited incomes exemption (RPTL, §459-c). As a general rule, to receive an enhanced STAR exemption, all of the owners of the property must be at least 65 years of age, except where property is owned by a husband and wife or by siblings, when only one of the owners need be of such age (RPTL, §425(4)(a)). If the enhanced STAR exemption is permitted here, the child-owner could be considerably less than 65 years old.

Until recently, a parcel owned by both a non-disabled parent at least 65 years of age and a child under age 65 but with a disability could not qualify for exemption under either section 467 or section 459-c because, with limited exceptions not applicable to these facts, section 467 required that all of the owners be at least age 65 and section 459-c required that all of the owners have a disability. Last year, however, section 455 was enacted (L.2006, c.174) providing an exemption option intended to allow owners such as those in the factual situation described here to choose either exemption. Sections 467(1)(a) and 459-c(1)(a) were correspondingly amended. {1}

If (per §455) the owners choose to receive exemption under section 467, in our opinion, their property will also qualify for the enhanced STAR exemption. That is, section 425(6)(c) provides that: “[w]hen property is eligible for the senior citizens exemption authorized by section [467], it shall also be deemed to be eligible for the enhanced exemption authorized by this section....” No exception has been made for situations in which exemption is granted under section 467 although title to the property is held, in part, by a person with a disability who is less than 65 years of age.

June 15, 2007
Revised August 29, 2007


{1}  In our opinion, the language added by chapter 174 of the Laws of 2006 was insufficient to accomplish the intended result. This session another chapter (i.e., L.2007, c.348, §§2, 3) corrected the apparent deficiencies.

Updated: