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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 114

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (income requirement) (prize money) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Prize money is income for purposes of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the income requirement of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law, the so-called “aged exemption.” The question is whether prize money should be considered income for purposes of this exemption.

Section 467 authorizes a granting municipality, at its option, to set an annual income limit of between $3,000 and $6,500 for the income tax year immediately preceding the date of making application for exemption. This section further provides (in subdivision 3, paragraph (a)) that “[s]uch income shall include social security and retirement benefits, interest, dividends, net rental income, salary or earnings, and net income from self-employment, but shall not include gifts and inheritances.”

The legislative intent in enacting this income requirement would appear to have been to exclude persons from the benefits of this statute who have more than a set amount of cash accruing to them from all sources with which to meet expenses during the income tax year immediately preceding the date of making application for exemption, excluding gifts and inheritances. Thus, we have previously stated that income includes, among other things, salary and wages, including bonuses; interest, including nontaxable interest on state or local bonds; dividends; and the total amount received from governmental or private retirement or pension plans. It is our opinion that prize money should also be counted as income for the purpose of this statute since such money cannot be construed to be a gift or inheritance, the only specific exceptions to the statutory definition of income.

April 18, 1975

Updated: