Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 41
School districts (assessment roll) (use of latest final roll) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1302:
School district authorities may confirm the school tax roll at any time after the tax is voted, but not later than September 1. However, if a school tax roll is confirmed prior to the second Tuesday in July, school authorities will necessarily be required to use the previous year’s assessment roll since that would be the latest final assessment roll available for use at such time.
Our opinion has been requested in regard to the assessment roll which a school district is required to use for the purpose of the levy and collection of school taxes.
Section 1302 of the Real Property Tax Law provides, in part, “For the purpose of the levy and collection of school taxes, the valuation of real property shall be ascertained from the latest final assessment roll of the city or town;” (emphasis supplied).
While school districts were formerly required to confirm the school tax roll and to annex a warrant thereto on or after August 1 pursuant to former sections 3501 and 3503 of the Education Law, said sections were repealed by section 1614 [now § 2014] of the Real Property Tax Law. The confirmation of the school tax roll and the levy of school taxes is presently governed by sections 1302 and 1306 of the Real Property Tax Law, and it is the long-standing opinion of this office that the school authorities may confirm the school tax roll at any time after the tax is voted, but not later than September 1. This opinion was sanctioned judicially in the 1969 case of Lone Star Cement Corp. v. Board of Education of City School District of City of Hudson (32 App. Div.2d 110, 300 N.Y.S.2d 51) wherein Judge Gibson stated:
In general, the statutory provisions governing school district taxation are permissive and flexible. None sets a date on which the school tax must be adopted by the board of education of the school district-for the tax can be confirmed by school authorities before the adoption of the school budget (Real Property Tax Law, § 1302, subd. 4) or after the adoption of the budget and commencement of the fiscal year (Real Property Tax Law, § 1306) – nor, as has been shown, must a specific assessment roll be used to compute the tax. Apparently the Legislature recognized that school districts often are composed of municipalities subject to diverse tax assessment provisions, and, therefore, did not attempt to prescribe rigid school tax assessment procedures. Absent any explicit inhibitory statute, appellant was entitled to complete its taxing procedures in such time as to enable it to commence the collection of taxes on the first day of its fiscal year. At that time “the latest final assessment roll” (Real Property Tax Law, § 1302, subd. (1)) was, with respect to each municipality, that completed in the preceding calendar year.
Therefore, if the school tax roll is confirmed prior to the second Tuesday in July (the earliest date the assessment roll may be finally completed and filed pursuant to subdivision 3 of section 506 of the Real Property Tax Law), the school authorities will necessarily be required to use the previous year’s assessment roll since that would be the latest final assessment roll available for such use at that time. However, if the school tax roll is confirmed subsequent to the completion of the current assessment roll, such roll must be used for school tax purposes.
January 10, 1974
Revised December, 1975