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Volume 6 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 72

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (school taxes) (children in Head Start Program) (children in ARC program) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Where children reside with an applicant for the aged exemption (Real Property Tax Law, §467) and the children are enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, which are not funded by real property taxation, there is no loss of the school tax exemption. Where children are enrolled in programs which replace traditional public elementary or secondary education, the assessor must determine if the programs receive school district funds, and if so, no exemption for school taxes may be granted.

Our opinion has been sought concerning two situations in which a child resides with an applicant for the aged exemption. In one case, a child is attending a Head Start Day Care Center. In the other, a child is attending a program run by the Association of Retarded Children (ARC).

Subdivision 2 of section 467 provides that “[e]xemption from taxation for school purposes shall not be granted in the case of real property where a child resides if such child attends a public school of elementary or secondary education.” As we stated in 1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 9, “The purpose of subdivision 2 is to insure that school district taxes are paid in full when a child . . . receives a benefit from the schools which derive their revenue from real property taxation.”

Turning to the questions posed, the presence of a child enrolled in a Head Start program would not result in the loss of the exemption for school tax purposes. These programs are not part of public elementary or secondary education but rather serve children too young for such education. Moreover, we have been advised by the State Department of Education that such programs are neither funded by local school districts nor supervised by the State Department of Education. Rather, they are usually under the jurisdiction of a local social service agency.

The presence of a child enrolled in an ARC program presents a more difficult problem. While such programs are usually organized on a county-wide basis, the individual components of such programs are often funded by the State Department of Education and the local school district, pursuant to Article 89 of the Education Law. Moreover, the ARC programs often function as replacements for more traditional public elementary and secondary education. Thus, in a situation where a child resides with an applicant for the aged exemption, and this child is enrolled in an ARC program funded by the school district, and this program serves as a replacement for traditional public elementary or secondary education, the exemption may not be granted for school tax purposes.

April 27, 1979

Updated: