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Department of Taxation and Finance

Assessor's Manual, Exemption Administration: RPTL Section 436

Exemption Administration Manual – Part 1: Residential – Other Than Multiple Dwellings

Section 4.01 - RPTL Section 436: Clergy-Property Held in Trust for Benefit of Church Members

Exemption Code(s): 21100

Year Originally Enacted: Before 1896*

Related Statutes: RPTL §§420-a, 490, Rel Corp L §2

*As originally enacted, law applied to any officer of a religious denomination. 1978 - Law amended to restrict eligibility to clergymen.

Summary:

Real property that (1) is held in trust by a clergyman of a religious denomination for the benefit of the members of his church and (2) is used exclusively for one or more specific purposes (religious, educational, charitable, hospital, or moral or mental improvement of men, women, or children) is wholly exempt from taxation and is exempt, for certain purposes, from special ad valorem levies and special assessments.

Eligibility requirements

Ownership requirements:

Trustee must be a clergyman of a church (or synagogue) belonging to a religious denomination who is authorized by the governing ecclesiastical body of the denomination to direct the spiritual affairs of the church, and the property must be held in trust for the benefit of the church members.

The church may be incorporated or unincorporated. An incorporated church is a religious corporation organized under the Religious Corporations Law and created to enable its members to meet for divine worship or other religious observances. An unincorporated church is an unincorporated congregation of persons who meet at stated times for divine worship or other religious observances.

Property location requirements:

None. 

Property use requirements:

Property must be used exclusively for one or more of the following purposes:

  • hospital
  • charitable
  • educational
  • religious
  • moral or mental improvement of men, women, or children

Lease or use of property for other purposes:

If any portion of the property is leased or otherwise used for the above purposes, for civil defense purposes, or for the purposes exempt under certain other statutes, the exemption still applies. These statutes are:

  • RPTL §408 (school district or BOCES)
  • RPTL §416 (United Nations)
  • RPTL §420-b (nonprofit organization - permissive class)
  • RPTL §422 (not-for-profit housing company)
  • RPTL §424 (institute of arts and sciences)
  • RPTL §426 (opera house)
  • RPTL §428 (fraternal organization)
  • RPTL §430 (interdenominational center)
  • RPTL §450 (agricultural society)

However, if the payments made for the privilege of such use exceed the carrying, maintenance, and depreciation charges of the portion of the property used, that portion is taxable for all purposes.

If any portion of the property is leased or otherwise used for any other purpose, that portion is wholly taxable, except as provided below.

Unimproved, unused property:

Unimproved and unused property from which no revenue is derived is exempt if (1) the property is unused because of the absence of suitable buildings or other improvements, provided that the construction of such improvements is contemplated in good faith or (2) the property is held by the owner on the condition that title to the property will revert to the previous owner if a building not intended or suitable for one or more of the exempt purposes specified in RPTL §420-a is erected.

Certification by state or local government:

None required. 

Required construction start date or other time requirement:

None. 

Local option

No. 

Limitation on exemption

Limitation on exemption by amount, duration, and taxing jurisdiction
Type of limitation General municipal taxes School district taxes Special ad valorem levies Special assessments
Amount No limit No limit No limit No limit
Duration No limit No limit No limit No limit
Taxing jurisdiction: county or county special districts Exempt Not applicable L* L*
City Exempt Not applicable Not applicable Tax
Town or town special district Exempt Not applicable L* L*
Village Exempt Not applicable Not applicable Tax
School district NA Exempt Not applicable Not applicable

*Liable only for (1) county and town charges for capital costs of sewer systems, water supply systems, waterways and drainage improvements, and streets and highways, plus (2) special assessments for indebtedness contracted before 7/1/53. 

Payments in lieu of taxes 

None required. 

Calculation of exemption

General municipal and school district taxes:

100% of assessed value.

Special Ad Valorem Levies and Special Assessments:

100% of assessed value or other basis of assessment.

The exemption applies to all levies and assessments imposed by counties, county special districts, towns, and town special districts except (1) charges levied to pay for the capital costs of sewer systems, water supply systems, waterways and drainage improvements, and streets and highways, and (2) special assessments for indebtedness contracted before 7/1/53. The exemption does not apply to special assessments imposed by cities or villages.

Coding of exemption on assessment roll

Exemptions codes on assessment roll
Code Description of Alternative Codes Possible
21100   

Assessment Roll Section(s): Exempt (RPS Section 8).

Note: This code should not be used to identify property owned by nonprofit organizations that is exempt under RPTL §420-a or RPTL §420-b or to identify property that is exempt under any of the statutes listed under Similar Exemptions below. For coding of such property, see the Exemption Profile for the statute that applies.

Filing requirements (owner or occupant of property)

Outside New York City

 Form(s) - initial application
Number Title or subject
RP-436 (9/08) Application*
RP-420-a-Org (9/08) Organization purpose
Schedule A,
RP-420-a/b-Org (1/95)
(only if required)
Supplemental information
on organization purpose
RP-420-a/b-Use (9/08) Property use
or, instead of above 420 forms:         
RP-420-a/b-Vlg (1/95) Application in villages using town or county
assessment roll per RPTL §1402(2)

 Form(s) - renewal application (annual):
Number Title or subject
RP-436 (9/08) Application*
RP-420-a/b-Rnw-I (9/08) Organization purpose
Schedule A,
RP-420-a/b-Org (9/08)
(only if required)
Supplemental information
on organization purpose
RP-420-a/b-Rnw-II (9/08) Property use
or, instead of above 420 forms:         
RP-420-a/b-Vlg (1/95) Application in villages using town or county
assessment roll per RPTL §1402(2)

*See sample form and instruction booklet following Exemption Profile.

For sample RP-420 forms and instructions, see Exemption Profile for RPTL §420-a in section 4.05 of this volume.

Reporting requirements (assessor)

None.

Similar exemptions 

 Exemptions by subject
Subject Statute
Clergy RPTL §460
Clergy residence owned by religious corporation RPTL §462
Nonprofit organizations (mandatory class) RPTL §420-a
Nonprofit organizations (permissive class) RPTL §420-b

Exemption application form

RP-436 (9/08) Application for real property tax exemption for property held in trust by members of clergy for the benefit of church members

RP-436 Instructions.

Please send general questions or comments to ORPTS.

Updated: