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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 19

Opinions of Counsel index

Real property, definition of;
Farm structures and buildings exemption (vineyard trellises) (grapevines) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 102(12)(a), 483:

Newly constructed vineyard trellises come within the meaning of “structures or buildings . . . used directly and exclusively in the raising and production for sale of agricultural and horticultural commodities” and are therefore eligible for an exemption pursuant to section 483.

Grapevines constitute real property and are therefore subject to assessment and taxation as provided by law.

          We have received an inquiry as to whether new grape trellises and vines would be exempt from taxation pursuant to the provisions of section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Under the general definition of real property for purposes of assessment and taxation, subdivision 12 of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that land itself (including trees and undergrowth thereon) and buildings and other articles and structures erected thereon constitute real property. Section 300 of that law provides that all real property shall be subject to taxation unless exempted therefrom by law.

The partial exemption of farm buildings and structures contained in section 483 provides for a five-year tax exemption on constructed or reconstructed buildings or structures essential to the operation of agricultural and horticultural lands, where such constructions are completed after January 1, 1969 and before January 1, 1979. This is a partial exemption from taxation to the extent of any increase in value thereof by reason of such construction or reconstruction.

We are of the opinion that newly constructed trellises come within the meaning of “structures and buildings or portions thereof used directly and exclusively in the raising and production for sale of agricultural and horticultural commodities . . .”, and therefore may be eligible for the exemption provided by section 483.

As to the grapevines themselves, we are of the opinion that the grapevines constitute real property by definition of law, and, accordingly, are subject to assessment and taxation in the absence of a statutory exemption.

May 24, 1973

Updated: