Volume 11 - Opinions of Counsel SBRPS No. 119
Business investment exemption (local option) (effect of municipal limitations on other municipalities) - Real Property Tax Law, § 485-b:
Where a county adopts a local law to restrict the business investment exemption per its industrial and commercial incentive board’s recommendations, the restrictions apply to cities, towns, village, and school districts within the county, unless the city, town, or village adopts a local law, or the school district adopts a resolution, providing otherwise. Where a town or school district restricts the exemption per its incentive board’s recommendation, such restriction does not affect the county’s exemption.
Our opinion has been requested concerning the business investment exemption (Real Property Tax Law, §485-b). The assessor states that, in 1997, a town and a school district each formed an industrial and commercial incentive board [ICIB], and that each passed a resolution to limit the applicability of the exemption to qualifying real property located within the village included within the town as well as the light industrial zoning district in the area of the town outside the village. The county in question has not taken similar action, and the question is whether the town and school district actions affect the exemption for county purposes.
Section 485-b(9)(a) of the RPTL empowers a county, city (except New York City to which the law does not apply – RPTL, §485 b(13)), town, or village to adopt a local law to establish an ICIB. A school district which levies taxes may do so by resolution.
The ICIB then presents a plan to the governing board which established it regarding the exemption. The plan is to make recommendations as to the applicability of the exemption to specific sectors and subsectors of business activities, as defined in the North American Industry Classification System, to which the ICIB members believe the exemption should be applied or from which it should be withheld. “In addition, such plan shall identify specific geographic areas within which such exemptions should be offered” (§485-b(9)(b)).
Where an ICIB has been established, a county, city, town, or village may adopt a local law (not a resolution) to “target” the exemption to specific business activities. School districts may take similar action by resolution. “Such law or resolution shall also restrict the availability of such exemption to the specific geographic areas identified in the plan presented by the [ICIB]” (§485-b(10)).
Section 485-b(11) provides that, where a county adopts a local law to restrict the exemption per its ICIB’s recommendations, the restrictions apply to cities, towns, village, and school districts within the county, unless the city, town, or village adopts a local law, or the school district adopts a resolution, providing otherwise. There is no comparable provision as to town local laws or school district resolutions adopting their ICIB recommendations affecting county taxes. Therefore, in our opinion, the geographical limitation applicable to the business investment exemption for purposes of town taxes and the similar limitation adopted by the school district for school taxes do not affect the applicability of the exemption for county tax purposes.
December 11, 2007