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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 87

Opinions of Counsel index

Small claims assessment review (eligibility) (equalized value) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 730, 1202, 1802; 9 NYCRR Subpart 186-8:

In determining eligibility for small claims assessment review in special assessing units, “equalized value” is determined by dividing the assessed value of the real property by the latest class ratio established for class one property.

The jurisdictional requirements for obtaining small claims assessment review set forth in section 730 of the Real Property Tax Law [RPTL] were amended in 1986 (L.1986, c.858, effective August 2, 1986). Previously, a small claims petitioner was limited to a request for an assessment reduction which would result in a total anticipated refund of taxes of no more than $750.

The prerequisite based upon the amount of the tax refund has been replaced by a requirement that either (1) the “equalized value” of the property subject to review not exceed $150,000; or (2) where the “equalized value” exceeds $150,000, the assessment reduction requested not exceed 25 percent of the assessed value of the parcel. For these purposes, RPTL, section 730(1)(d) defines the term “equalized value” as “the assessed value of the property divided by the most recent equalization rate or, in the case of a special assessing unit, the most recent class one ratio, when established”.

Although the 1986 amendments do not define the term “class one ratio”, section 1202(l)(b) of the RPTL provides:

[i]n the case of special assessing units as defined in [RPTL, §1801], the State Board shall also ascertain for the purposes of [RPTL, Article 7] the ratio of the assessed valuation to the full valuation of taxable real property for each class of property established under [RPTL, Article 18], which percentages as finally determined as provided in this article shall be the class ratios for each such class (Emphasis added).

Furthermore, in the sponsor’s memorandum in support of the bill which became chapter 858 of the Laws of 1986 there is a statement to the effect that “property value for [small claims review] eligibility purposes [will] be determined by dividing the assessed value by the equalization rate or class ratio, whichever is appropriate” (emphasis added).

Accordingly, we believe it is clear that in special assessing units, the calculation of “equalized value” for purposes of determining eligibility for small claims assessment review is to be made by dividing the assessed value of the property by the latest class ratio established by the State Board for class one (9 NYCRR Subpart 186-8).

September 23, 1986

Updated: