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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 60

Opinions of Counsel index

State of New York exemption (taxes) (liability of State on part of property acquired between taxable status and lien dates) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 404, 932, 950:

New York State will honor tax claims upon land it acquires only if a lien exists at the time of acquisition. If the State acquires a portion of the parcel subsequent to taxable status date but prior to lien date, an apportionment of respective interests may be made pursuant to section 932 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the taxable status of certain lands, part of which were acquired by the State after taxable status date, May 1, but prior to the date of levy of school taxes.

When property owned by a private citizen on taxable status date is transferred to a tax exempt organization subsequent to taxable status date and prior to lien date (usually when the tax is levied), such property remains subject to taxation. However, if property is transferred to the state or federal government, subsequent to taxable status date but prior to lien date, then it is settled opinion that the tax is void (Glassman v. Glassman, 309 N.Y. 436, 131 N.E.2d 721). In other words, when a transfer is made between taxable status date and lien date, the tax remains due in all cases except when the state or federal government is the grantee (Real Property Tax Law, §§ 401, 404). Lien date for school district tax purposes is the date and hour of the confirmation or final adoption of the school tax roll by the school authorities (Real Property Tax Law, § 1312).

The State will honor tax claims upon land it acquires only when such claims exist as liens at the time of acquisition. Where the State acquires only part of a parcel after taxable status date and prior to lien date, as is the case here, an apportionment of the respective interest of the State and private owner may be made pursuant to section 932 of the Real Property Tax Law which provides as follows:

§ 932. Payment of taxes on part of a parcel of real property

1. The collecting officer shall receive the tax on part of a parcel of real property provided the person offering to pay such tax shall furnish a particular specification of such part, including an apportionment of the assessment thereof made by the assessor after due notice to the parties affected. In the event that the tax on the remainder remains unpaid, the collecting officer shall enter such specification on his return to the county treasurer, indicating the part on which the tax remains unpaid. If the part on which the tax was paid is an undivided share, the person paying the same shall furnish the collecting officer with the name of the owner thereof, which shall be entered on the return of unpaid taxes, and the share of such owner shall be excepted in case of sale for the tax on the remainder.

2. The county treasurer may, with respect to any taxes returned to him as unpaid, receive the taxes on part of a parcel of real property in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as set forth in subdivision one of this section.

Pursuant to this statute the assessors, after due notice to the parties affected (i.e., the State and the private owners), may apportion a parcel of real property so that the owner of the taxable portion may pay his proportionate share of taxes and thereby protect his interest.

In regard to the taxes levied against the property which was acquired by the State, it should be noted that the board of supervisors of any county is authorized to direct the cancellation of such taxes pursuant to the provisions of section 950 of the Real Property Tax Law. This section provides for the cancellation of both town and county taxes (subdivision 1) and relevied school district taxes (subdivision 2), and in both cases the statute directs that such cancelled taxes be charged back to the appropriate municipal corporations.

December 11, 1973

Updated: