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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 61

Opinions of Counsel index

Board of Assessment Review (filing of complaint) (receipt after close of public hearings) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 512, 1524:

By processing an untimely complaint, a board of assessment review waives its objection to the procedural defect. The board will be estopped from refusing to hear the complaint if it has acted on the complaint or if the complainant has relied to his detriment on information furnished by a member of the board.

We have received an inquiry concerning the jurisdiction of a board of assessment review to process an assessment complaint which was submitted after the board concluded its public hearings.

The board of assessment review must make a final determination of the proper assessment of each parcel for which a complaint is filed on or before “grievance day” (Real Property Tax Law, § 512(1)). Where the board holds adjourned public hearings on dates subsequent to grievance day, it must entertain complaints submitted at such hearings (700 Shore Road Associates v. Board of Assessment Review, 70 Misc.2d 822, 335 N.Y.S.2d 114 (S.Ct., Nassau Co., 1972); see also, 5 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 74.

However, final determinations are to be made at a closed session of the board (6 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 125). Since these meetings are for deliberative purposes, rather than to hear complaints, the provisions of section 512(1), allowing filing of additional complaints while the board conducts hearings, would not apply. There is no authority for a board to entertain complaints submitted after the conclusion of public hearings (Professional Equities Corp. v. Board of Assessment Review, 75 Misc.2d 403, 347 N.Y.S.2d 890 (S.Ct., Nassau Co., 1973)). However, if a board should receive and accept an untimely complaint, it will be deemed to have waived its objection to this procedural defect (Henderson v. Silco, 36 A.D.2d 439, 321 N.Y.S.2d 313 (4th Dept., 1971)).

Where the late-filing complainant has relied on information furnished by the assessor in filing a complaint, rather than a member of the board of assessment review, it is our opinion that the board of assessment review would not be bound by the representation made by the assessor.

November 12, 1981