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Volume 5 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 101

Opinions of Counsel index

Fraternal benefit society exemption (scope) (real property taxation) - Insurance Law, § 468:

Section 468 of the Insurance Law, which exempts the funds of fraternal benefit societies from taxation, does not provide an exemption from real property taxation.

We have received an inquiry wherein it is stated that a fraternal benefit society owns real property in a town and claims that its property is exempt from taxation pursuant to the provisions of section 468 of the Insurance Law of the State of New York. Our opinion is requested concerning its claim.

Section 468 of the Insurance Law provides as follows:
Every fraternal benefit society organized or licensed under this article is hereby declared to be a charitable and benevolent institution, and all of its funds shall be exempt from all and every state, county, district, municipal and school tax, other than taxes on real estate and office equipment, (emphasis supplied)

Subdivision 20 of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law defines “tax” or “taxation” as meaning a charge imposed upon real property by or on behalf of a county, city, town, village or school district for municipal or school district purposes.

Section 300 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that all real property within the State shall be subject to real property taxation unless exempt therefrom by law.

Accordingly, it is our opinion that section 468 of the Insurance Law does not provide an exemption from real property taxation. To the contrary, this section expresses an intent that the “real estate” of a society is not exempt from taxation. A similar conclusion was reached by the Attorney General (1976, Op.Atty.Gen. 267).

November 17, 1976

Updated: