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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 32

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessments, generally (property damaged by Hurricane Agnes) - Real Property Tax Law, § 302, Article 17:

Article 17, providing for the abatement of taxes levied on the 1973 assessment roll on property damaged as a result of Hurricane Agnes, in no way changed the rule that property be assessed annually according to its condition of taxable status date.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the taxable status of certain parcels of real property which had been granted a tax abatement because of damage resulting from Hurricane Agnes, and the assessment of such parcels on subsequent assessment rolls.

The statutes of New York require the assessor to prepare an assessment roll each year and assess property according to its ownership and condition as of taxable status date (Real Property Tax Law, § 302(1)).

When Hurricane Agnes struck in 1973, and damaged many homes and businesses, the taxable status date had already passed. Assessments of these properties reflected their condition and value prior to the disaster and, of course, taxes normally would be calculated on the value of the property as of taxable status date. Article 17 of the Real Property Tax Law provides for abatement of taxes levied on the 1973 roll on property damaged as a result of Hurricane Agnes to the extent of such damage.

However, Article 17 in no way changed the rule that property be assessed annually according to its condition as of the current taxable status date. Accordingly, assessors preparing the 1973 assessment roll were required by law to reflect conditions as they existed on the taxable status date in 1973. The percentage loss of value attributable to damage as a result of Hurricane Agnes for tax abatement would not be applicable in the assessment of property which had been repaired or reconstructed. The rule that property be assessed at its full value (or at a uniform percentage thereof), according to its condition on taxable status date, would adhere.

October 15, 1973

Updated: