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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 48

Opinions of Counsel index

Real property, definition of (bridge) – Real Property Tax Law, § 102(12)(b):

A covered bridge located on private property is real property notwithstanding that it extends over a non-navigable stream.

We have been asked whether a covered bridge, which extends over a non-navigable stream and is located on private property, is real property.

All real property in this State is subject to taxation unless specifically exempted therefrom by law (Real Property Tax Law, §300). “Bridges” are included in the definition of real property (id., §102(12)(b)) and there is no exemption granted to bridges located on private land. Therefore, this bridge should be considered real property and assessed as such.

The fact that the bridge extends over a non-navigable stream or creek is irrelevant. Navigability would only be an issue if the bridge were used as part of a “special franchise” as defined in subdivision 17 of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law (see, e.g., People ex rel. Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. State Tax Comm., 247 N.Y. 9, 159 N.E. 703 (1928); People ex rel. Grand Truck Co. v. Gilchrist, 248 N.Y. 97, 161 N.E. 432 (1928)).

April 2, 1980

Updated: