Law change regarding seniors exemption
Beginning with 2022 assessment rolls, the law requires that seniors applying for or renewing the senior citizens exemption (467) provide their income information for a specific year. The applicable “income tax year" depends on the taxable status date of the municipality:
|Taxable status date||Income tax year for 467 eligibility in 2022|
|Before April 15||2020|
|April 15 or later||2021|
Questions and answers
Q. What is the purpose of the new law?
A. For your convenience, we are providing the bill text and sponsor’s memo.
Q. Are applicants who don’t file income tax returns still eligible for the exemption?
A. Yes. The newly-enacted law only specifies the income tax year to be used when reporting income for purposes of this exemption. Otherwise, the process of applying for the exemption remains as before.
It is still true that applicants who filed a federal or New York State income tax return for the applicable income tax year must attach a copy of that return to their Form RP-467.
However, that requirement did not and does not apply to applicants who do not file income tax returns; they must still provide other proof of their income for the income tax year in question.
Q. If an applicant is seeking the exemption on the 2022 assessment roll, and the applicant’s spouse died before the taxable status date for 2022, is the deceased spouse’s income now required to be included when determining the applicant’s eligibility for 2022?
A. As stated above, the newly-enacted law only specifies the income tax year to be used when reporting income for purposes of this exemption. Otherwise, the process of applying for the exemption remains as before. Accordingly, if the applicant’s spouse died prior to taxable status date, we believe the eligibility determination would still be based only on the surviving spouse’s income, not the deceased spouse’s income. Eligibility for the exemption is based upon the income of the owners of the property, and a deceased spouse who died before the 2022 taxable status date would not have been an owner as of that taxable status date. (See 1 Op. Counsel SBEA No. 70).
Q. If an applicant is seeking the exemption on the 2022 assessment roll, and the applicant’s spouse died in 2021, could the applicant submit income information for 2021 instead of 2020?
A. Not where the taxable status date is before April 15. Unlike the Enhanced STAR exemption and credit, there is no surviving spouse provision for 467. If your taxable status date is before April 15, then when applying for the exemption on the 2022 assessment roll, the surviving spouse must submit income for 2020.
Q. If a municipality has opted to allow unreimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses to be deducted from income for purposes of the 467 exemption, is there a particular year of medical expenses that should be deducted?
A. Our opinion is that any deductions from income allowed by the statute—including unreimbursed medical expenses where a municipality has opted to allow that deduction—should have occurred in the income tax year required for the application. See the link above for details.
Q. Does the change regarding income tax years also apply to the exemption for persons with disabilities and limited incomes?
A. No. The law change only impacts the senior citizens exemption.