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Volume 11 - Opinions of Counsel SBRPS No. 91

Opinions of Counsel index

Infrastructure exemption (scope) (improvements installed before local authorization of exemption) - Real Property Tax Law, § 485-g:

Qualifying improvements completed before the effective date of a local law or resolution authorizing the infrastructure exemption may qualify therefor if application is made within one year of such local authorization.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the infrastructure exemption (Real Property Tax Law, § 485-g; added L.1998, c.361). A contractor has applied for the exemption on improvements completed some years before the town authorized the exemption, and the assessor asks if the exemption may be allowed in such circumstance. Assuming all other statutory criteria are satisfied, in our opinion, it may.

Section 485-g authorizes counties, cities (except New York City), towns, and villages to adopt local laws, and school districts to adopt resolutions, exempting the value of infrastructure improvements in residential developments. The specific infrastructure improvements covered by the exemption are streets, storm and sanitary sewers, drainage facilities and any other facilities required by the municipality to be installed in the residential subdivision, as noted on the filed plat plan for the subdivision. Subdivision four of such section provides, in part:

On approved subdivision lots in which such infrastructure has been completed as of the effective date of the local law or school district resolution providing that the exemption under this section shall be applicable within its jurisdiction and for which a certificate of occupancy has not been issued, application shall be made within one year from the effective date of such local law or school district resolution. {1}

Nothing in the statute suggests any limitation on when qualifying infrastructure improvements need to have been made. In most cases, especially those where those improvements were completed many years ago, most (if not all) of the qualifying lots presumably will have been sold and built upon; no exemptions would be granted to them. Unsold vacant lots, however, would be eligible for their proportional exemption for up to three years if timely application is made regardless of when the infrastructure improvements were put in place.

May 14, 2004

{1}  The sponsor’s memorandum of the bill (A.2378-C) that added section 485-g states that, if qualifying improvements are already in place when the infrastructure exemption is adopted locally, application may be made within one year of that adoption.