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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 30

Opinions of Counsel index

Real property, definition of (Harvestore silo) - Real Property Tax Law, § 102 (12):

A Harvestore silo is a structure within the meaning of section 102(12) since it is erected or affixed upon the land itself, and as such is real property and may be subject to taxation. Neither the fact that the improvement is not used for permanent storage nor the possibility of its being dismantled and removed varies this conclusion.

We have received an inquiry concerning the assessment of Harvestore silos located on farms as real property for the purposes of taxation.

The question is whether Harvestore silos are real property and taxable as such in view of the fact that they can be dismantled and moved.

It is our understanding that Harvestore silos may be constructed of heavy steel plates, coated with glass and bolted together on a reinforced concrete foundation. Generally, these silos have a tonnage size up to 800 tons and the crop plant materials are placed in it from the top by means of a blower and are removed after processing from the bottom. It appears that machinery is not essential for the operation since it operates primarily by the settling of the material to the bottom of the processing facility.

Subdivision 12 of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law defines real property. Paragraph (b) thereof provides as follows:

(b) Buildings and other articles and structures, substructures and superstructures erected upon, under or above the land, or affixed thereto, including bridges and wharves and piers and the value of the right to collect wharfage, cranage or dockage thereon, but shall not include bulk milk tanks or coolers installed upon a farm to hold milk awaiting shipment to market;

It is clear from the above definition that a Harvestore silo is a structure or erection within the meaning of the statute since it is erected or affixed upon the land itself, and as such is real property subject to taxation. The fact that the improvement is not used for permanent storage, and has the possibility of being dismantled and removed, would not vary this conclusion, since the statute does not provide for such a distinction.

It should also be noted that the special 9-A corporation test would not be applicable in this situation. Subdivision 12(f) of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law excludes from the definition of real property “. . . movable machinery or equipment consisting of structures or erections to the operation of which machinery is essential . . .”. However, this section is applicable solely to corporations liable for the payment of a franchise tax under Article 9-A of the Tax Law.

October 16, 1973

Updated: