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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 107

Opinions of Counsel index

Farm structures and buildings exemption (scope) (sugar house) - Real Property Tax Law, § 483:

A sugar house used in the processing of maple syrup is not eligible for the exemption provided by section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law since structures used in the processing of agricultural or horticultural commodities are specifically excluded by such section as are buildings used in the retail sale of such commodities.

We have received an inquiry concerning the eligibility of a “sugar house” for an exemption from real property taxation pursuant to section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law. The facts are that one such structure is used exclusively for the production of maple syrup, and another is used for both retail sales and production of syrup.

Section 483 provides for an exemption equal to the increase in assessed value resulting from construction or reconstruction of structures supporting an active agricultural or horticultural operation. Such structures must have been constructed or reconstructed between January 1, 1969 and January 1, 1979 and must support not less than five acres of land actually used in bona fide agricultural or horticultural production for two years prior to application.

Subdivision 3 of section 483 further states that “the term ‘structures and buildings’ shall include (a) structures and buildings or portions thereof used directly and exclusively in the raising and production for sale of agricultural or horticultural commodities or necessary for the storage thereof, but not structures and buildings or portions thereof used for the processing of agricultural and horticultural commodities, or the retail merchandising of such commodities” (emphasis supplied).

Our conclusion is that the sugar house used in the processing of maple syrup is not eligible for exemption. Structures used for the processing of agricultural and horticultural commodities are specifically excluded by section 483.

Section 483 also specifically excludes structures used for retail merchandising purposes. Therefore, the building used both for the retail sale and processing of maple syrup, would also be ineligible for a section 483 exemption.

June 17, 1974

Note: In 2006, the law was amended to specifically provide that structures and buildings used in the production of maple syrup are eligible for exemption under section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law. RPTL 483(2)(d) as added by Chapter 509 of the Laws of 2006.

Updated: