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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 46

Opinions of Counsel index

Taxes (levy for county purposes) (sales tax offset - time of election) - Real Property Tax Law, § 900; Tax Law, § 1262:

A city or town election to receive any share of county sales tax revenues to which it may be entitled, as a direct payment rather than as a credit against the county tax levy therein, must be made by September first. Once made, such election remains in effect until rescinded.

Our opinion has been requested as to whether Chapter 828 of the Laws of 1985 changes the date by which a city or town must decide whether county sales tax proceeds are to be applied as a credit against the county real property tax levied against the city or town as a whole, or paid directly to the city or town.

Section 1262(c) of the Tax Law authorizes counties to set aside a portion of their sales tax revenue for cities and towns. Generally, the amount allocated to each city and town must be used first to offset county real property taxes levied on the property in the city or town, except if a city or town provides by local law, ordinance or resolution to be paid directly. Section 1262(c) also provides:

Any local law, ordinance or resolution enacted by a city, town or village pursuant to this subdivision shall only be effective for the calendar year or years subsequent to its enactment and, further, shall only be effective if it is mailed by registered or certified mail to the chief fiscal officer of the county in which the city, town, village is located before the first day of September preceding the calendar year for which the election is made by such local law, ordinance or resolution. Such local law, ordinance or resolution shall remain in effect for subsequent calendar years until rescinded by local law, ordinance or resolution, but the enactment shall rescind the election only if it is mailed, in the same manner already provided for in this subdivision, to the chief fiscal officer of the county in which the city, town or village is located before the first day of September preceding the calendar year for which the resolution is to apply (emphasis added) {*}.

Chapter 828 of the Laws of 1985 amended various provisions of the Real Property Tax Law to effect a change in the procedure for levying taxes for county purposes. While this legislation included in subdivision 2 of section 900 of the RPTL a reference to offsets available pursuant to section 1262 of the Tax Law, it did not change any provision of section 1262 itself.

Accordingly, in our opinion, in a county in which county sales tax revenues are set aside for cities and towns, a city or town must continue to decide by September first whether its share of such revenues will be applied against the county real property tax levy or paid directly to the city or town.

November 7, 1985

NOTE: Chapter 914 of the Laws of 1985 repealed the changes to the law made by chapter 828 of the Laws of 1985, retroactive to June 6, 1985, the effective date of Chapter 828. As was true of the latter enactment, Chapter 914 did not amend or effect the provisions of section 1262 of the Tax Law.


{*}  Tax Law, §1262(d), sets forth the manner in which county sales tax proceeds are to be distributed where a city within a county imposes its own sales tax. The options available to cities and towns under this subdivision are similar to those available under subdivision (c) and must also be exercised by September 1.

Updated: