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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 99

Opinions of Counsel index

Sales reporting (recording of conveyance) (collection of filing fee; transmittal of sales report forms) - Real Property Law, § 333; Real Property Tax Law, §§ 574, 1532; 9 NYCRR 191-2.2:

Collection of and accountability for the filing fee at the time of recording a conveyance of real property is ordinarily the responsibility of the county recording officer. A county legislature, however, may authorize the county director of real property tax services to collect and account for the fee.

Pursuant to section 574 of the Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) and section 333(1-e) of the Real Property Law (RPL), the State Board of Equalization and Assessment prescribes the real property transfer report form (Form EA-5217) which must accompany a deed which is submitted to a county clerk for filing. The specific content of the EA-5217 form is prescribed in section 191-2.1 of the State Board’s Rules for Real Property Tax Administration.

In 1973, a particular county legislature adopted a resolution transferring to the county director of real property tax services duties imposed upon the county’s recording officer by RPTL, section 574. Such a transfer of duty is authorized in law and rule (RPTL, §§574, 1532(3)(b); 9 NYCRR 191-2.2(c)). RPTL, section 574, and the State Board’s Rules (9 NYCRR 191-2.2) require each county recording officer, or other officer so designated by the county legislative body, to transmit the appropriate copy of each EA-5217 form filed during the preceding month to (1) the assessors of each assessing unit located within the county, (2) the county equalization agency, and (3) the State Board.

In 1991, State law (e.g., RPL §333(l-e)) was amended (L.1991, c.166, §§262, 263) to require payment of a $25 filing fee at the time of filing the EA-5217 form. We are asked whether it is the county director or the county clerk who has responsibility for collecting and accounting for the $25 filing fee.

Real Property Law, section 333, requires the recording officer of each county to refrain from recording a conveyance of real property unless the party seeking to record the conveyance submits an EA-5217 form and pays the required $25 fee. That is, the responsibility of collecting the $25 filing fee for form EA-5217 is a duty imposed by section 333 of the RPL, not by section 574 of the RPTL. Accordingly, the responsibility for collecting the fee may not be transferred to the county director pursuant to the authority contained in section 574 of the RPTL.

Nevertheless, if a county legislature wishes to assign to its county director the duty of collecting the fee for filing a real property transfer report, we believe it may do so pursuant to RPTL, section 1532(4), which provides that:

The director of real property tax services shall render other related services pertaining to the assessment and taxation .of real property as may be authorized by the legislative body of the county as are not inconsistent with the performance of his duties pursuant to this chapter or any general or special law.

The EA-5217 real property transfer report form is an integral part of the process of assessment and taxation of real property in New York State. Duties related to that form, therefore, would fall within the purview of RPTL, section 1532(4).

In the situation at hand, the 1973 resolution of the county legislature designated and authorized the county director to perform those duties imposed by RPTL, section 574, which relate to the real property transfer report. Since the duty to collect the $25 fee is not a duty imposed by RPTL, section 574, the responsibility for collecting the fee cannot be deemed transferred to the county director pursuant to the county legislature’s 1973 resolution. {*}  Accordingly, in order to authorize the county director to collect the $25 filing fee for the EA-5217, the county legislature must adopt a new resolution so providing.

December 24, 1991


{*}  Of course, in adopting its 1973 resolution to transfer certain duties to the county director, the county legislature did not consider whether to transfer responsibility for collecting the transfer report filing fee, because no such fee then existed.

Updated: