Volume 6 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 29
Equalization rates (state rates) (special rates - tax certiorari proceedings) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 720, 1314, Articles 12-A, 12-B:
Special state equalization rates and ratios established pursuant to Article 12-A, 12-B, or 13 of the Real Property Tax Law may not be used as evidence of inequality in tax certiorari proceedings.
We have been asked whether the 1978 amendment (L.1978, c.476) to Real Property Tax Law, section 720(3), can be interpreted to permit the use of special state equalization ratios established pursuant to Article 12-A of the Real Property Tax Law as proof of inequality in tax certiorari proceedings.
Subdivision 3 of section 720 now provides in part that in a tax certiorari proceeding, “evidence may be given by either party as to ...(2) The state equalization rate established for the role [sic] containing the assessment under review.” This is the same language as existed prior to the amendment of the law in 1977 (L. 1977,c.888).
Special state equalization ratios established pursuant to Article 12-A of the Real Property Tax Law may not be used as proof of inequality in tax certiorari proceedings. Subdivision 3 of section 720 clearly provides for use of the state equalization rate, whereas Article 12-A provides for the establishment of special state equalization ratios. The term “state equalization rate” (defined in Real Property Tax Law, §102(19)) refers to the rate which the State Board determines pursuant to section 1202 (see, Rokowsky v. Finance Administrator of City of New York, 41 N.Y.2d 574, 362 N.E.2d 974, 394 N.Y.S.2d 176).
In addition, the Article 12-A special state equalization ratios are established for a very limited purpose, as are the Article 12-B special state equalization ratios and the special state equalization rates established pursuant to section 1314 (see, 3 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 15). Section 1254 of Article 12-A specifically states that the special ratios established in accordance with Article 12-A are to be used to compute the constitutional tax and debt limitations of the cities to which the Article applies. Likewise, section 1261 directs that the special ratios are to be used for computation of the tax and debt limits of the school districts to which Article 12-B applies. Thus, these special ratios and the special rates of Article 13 are not those to which subdivision 3 of section 720 makes reference.
Accordingly, it is clear that it is solely the regular state equalization rate which may be introduced in evidence in tax certiorari proceedings.
February 22, 1979