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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 106

Opinions of Counsel index

Villages (assessing unit) (non-assessing units) (special franchise assessments) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 600, 1402:

Unless a village has ceded its assessing responsibilities to the town (RPTL, §1402(3)), the village must use the special franchise assessments determined by the State Board of Equalization and Assessment for that village, even if the village has adopted a resolution to base its assessment roll upon the roll of the town in which it is located (RPTL, §1402(2)).

We have received an inquiry concerning the levy of taxes against special franchise assessments located within a non-assessing unit village.

On December 16, 1991, the Village Board adopted a local law to terminate the Village’s assessing unit status (Real Property Tax Law, §1402(3); 9 NYCRR 190-1.6(a)). The Village Board apparently believed that the local law had been adopted in time for the levy of 1992-93 Village taxes against the Village portion of the 1991 final assessment roll of the Town in which the Village is located.

However, a local law adopted pursuant to section 1402(3) is subject to a permissive referendum, and village electors have 30 days in which to file a petition demanding such a referendum (RPTL, §1402(3)(c); Village Law, §9-902(1)). Consequently, this local law could not have taken effect until after January 1, 1992. The Village, therefore, remained an assessing unit for purposes of its 1992-1993 fiscal year and was obligated to produce its own 1992 assessment roll (RPTL, §1402(3)(a)).

Recognizing its obligation to produce that assessment roll, on January 6, 1992, the Village Board adopted a resolution to base its 1992 assessments on the latest (i.e., 1991) Town roll (RPTL, §1402(2); 9 NYCRR 190-1.6(c)). {*}  In preparing its 1992 roll in this manner; the Village copied the special franchise assessments entered on the 1991 Town roll. The Village proceeded to levy taxes against these 1991 special franchise assessments, and the special franchise owners subsequently objected.

Because the Village remained an assessing unit for 1992, it was incorrect for the Village to use the special franchise assessments which the State Board has issued to the Town for Town use. The State Board annually determines special franchise assessments for each assessing unit, including villages which base their assessment rolls on town rolls (RPTL, §600(1)). A village which remains an assessing unit must use the special franchise assessments the State Board computes for the village.

The Village’s erroneous use of the Town special franchise assessments is correctable. It is an “unlawful entry” to enter a special franchise assessment on an assessment roll or tax roll which exceeds the final assessment established by the State Board (RPTL, §550(7)(e)). Special franchise assessments which are lower than State Board figures also can be corrected on final assessment rolls pursuant to RPTL, §553(l)(h).

July 7, 1992


{*}  A village which opts to base its assessment roll on the roll of the town or towns in which it is located is still an assessing unit, subject to all of the powers and duties applicable to all assessing units (e.g., preparation and review of assessment roll), except that such a village need not maintain an assessment inventory separate from that maintained by the town (9 NYCRR 190-1.2(d)).

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