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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 41

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption; sliding scale aged exemption (income requirement) (reduction) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 467, 467-d:

For the purposes of section 467-d, a municipality may not reduce its maximum income ceiling and then grant the sliding scale exemption, for purposes of assessment rolls prepared on the basis of taxable status dates occurring in 1984.

We have been asked whether a municipality may reduce its aged exemption income ceiling and then grant the sliding scale aged exemption (RPTL, §467-d). Section 467-d(1)(a)(2) provides:

The reduction in any tax year commencing on or after the effective date of this section, of the maximum income exempt eligibility level established by such municipal corporation for assessment rolls prepared on the basis of taxable status dates occurring on or after January first, nineteen hundred eighty-four, and prior to January first, nineteen hundred eighty-five, for the purposes of granting exemptions for tax purposes shall preclude such municipal corporation from adopting a local law, ordinance or resolution providing for the exemptions provided for in this subdivision in any tax year for which such reduction is in effect. (Emphasis added)

That is, in order to grant the sliding scale aged exemption, a municipal corporation must have adopted a local law to grant the basic aged exemption (RPTL, §467). The above quoted provision appears to prevent such a municipal corporation from reducing its maximum income ceiling for purposes of section 467 and then granting the sliding scale exemption. Presumably, the Legislature did not want municipal corporations to use the sliding scale exemption as a means for reducing the exemptions received by senior citizens pursuant to section 467 prior to the enactment of section 467-d (added L.1983, c.991).

However, as also indicated in the above quoted portion of section 467-d, the limitation on the ability of a municipal corporation to reduce its section 467 maximum income ceiling, while still allowing the sliding scale exemption, is applicable only to assessment rolls prepared on the basis of taxable status dates occurring between January 1, 1984 and December 31, 1984. The preclusion would apply to any taxes levied on such an assessment roll, even of those taxes are levied on or after January 1, 1985.

Given the emphasized portion of the above quoted provision of section 467-d, the preclusion will no longer be applicable to assessment rolls prepared on the basis of taxable status dates occurring on or after January 1, 1985. From a pragmatic viewpoint, we do not anticipate that many municipalities will reduce their income ceilings and then grant the sliding scale exemption, since at least some senior citizens will then receive a lesser exemption than they received prior to the local adoption of the sliding scale exemption.

November 21, 1984

Updated: