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Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 23

Opinions of Counsel index

Volunteer firemen and fire companies in villages exemption - Real Property Tax Law, § 466:

The exemption provided by section 466 of the Real Property Tax Law to volunteer members of a village fire department and fire companies in villages is in addition to any other exemption to which the real property may be entitled.

We have received an inquiry concerning the exemption from real property taxes of property owned by volunteer firemen and fire companies in villages.

          Section 466 of the Real Property Tax Law provides for a limited exemption on property owned by volunteer members of a village fire department and by fire companies in a village and reads as follows:

“Upon the adoption of a proposition therefor by the qualified voters of a village, the real property owned by a volunteer member of the village fire department and the real property owned by any volunteer fire company in the village shall be exempt from taxation for village purposes to the extent of five hundred dollars in addition to any other exemption authorized by law.”

The partial exemption provided by the above quoted statute would apply only when the qualified voters of a village adopt a proposition to make it applicable to the village. It should be noted that such exemption applies solely to taxes imposed for village purposes, and would not be applicable to county, town or school district taxes.

Assuming the requirements of section 466 have been followed in a village, the exemption granted under section 466 shall be in addition to any other exemption from taxation granted to real property. For example, in such case real property owned by a volunteer fireman who is a veteran may also be entitled to an exemption under section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law, the veterans’ exemption statute. In that case both partial exemptions would be allowable on a single parcel on a village roll.

If the governing body of a village has adopted the so-called “aged exemption” as authorized by section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law, the “aged exemption” would be allowable on the property of an otherwise qualified fireman in addition to any other partial exemption to which the property may be entitled for village purposes. Where the property is entitled to a veterans’ or other partial exemption, the “aged exemption”, a fifty percent exemption, is to be computed after all other partial exemptions have been deducted (1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 32; 1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 77).

The condition and ownership of real property on taxable status date determines its taxable status for the ensuing fiscal year of the respective municipality. Thus, with respect to the exemptions discussed above, the property in each case must qualify for exempt status on taxable status date. If local action of a municipality is required then, of course, such action would have to be taken in time to be effective on the municipality’s taxable status date.

June 12, 1972

Updated: