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Assessor Manuals, Exemption Administration: RPTL Section 485-j

Exemption Administration Manual—Part 1: Residential—Other than multiple dwellings

Section 4.01 - RPTL Section 485-j: Residential property improvements in certain cities

Exemption Code(s):


Year Originally Enacted:


Related Statutes:



To the extent allowed by local option, residential property that is located in cities of at least 130,000, but not more than 160,000 (currently Syracuse (Onondaga County)) and improved under certain conditions (see below) are exempt from city and school district taxes to the extent of an annually declining percentage of at least some of the increase in the property's assessed value attributable to the improvement. No exemption is allowed from county taxes, county special ad valorem levies, and special assessments.

Eligibility requirements

Ownership requirements:

Property must be owned by a private individual or organization.

Property location requirements:

Property must be located in cities having a population of not less than 130,000, and not more than 160,000. Based on the latest federal census, i.e., 2000, only Syracuse (Onondaga County) currently satisfies this criterion.

Property use requirements:

The value of the improvement project must exceed $10,000; the project may not be one of ordinary maintenance or repairs.

Certification by state or local government:

None required.

Required construction start date or other time requirement:

Improvement of the property must commence on or after January 1, 2006 or a later date as specified by local law.

Local option

Yes. Eligible taxing jurisdictions are allowed two choices:


To allow the exemption, a city meeting the population requirements may choose whether or not to allow the exemption. The option to exempt must be exercised by the city through a local law after a public hearing is held.

Note: For this exemption such a local law applies for both city and school district purposes, as a school district serving a city of this population size is fiscally dependent on the city (see Article 52 of the Education Law).

Construction start date:

The city may specify in its local law any date after that required by state law (see Required Construction Date or Other Time Requirements above) as the date after which the improvement project must have commenced for the property to be eligible for exemption.

Limitation on exemption

Limitation on exemption by amount, duration, and taxing jurisdiction
General Municipal taxes School district taxes Special ad valorem levies Special assessments
1. Amount Yes* Yes* No exemption allowed No exemption allowed
2. Duration 5 years* 5 years* No exemption allowed No exemption allowed
3. Taxing Jurisdiction a. County or County Special Districts Tax NA Tax Tax
b. City Ex** NA NA Tax
c. Town or Town Special District Tax NA Tax Tax
d. Village Tax NA NA Tax
e. School District NA Ex** NA NA
Ex - Exempt     Tax - Taxable     NA - Not Applicable

*See Calculation of Exemption below.
**If allowed by local option.

Payments in lieu of taxes

None required.

Calculation of exemption

General municipal and school district taxes:

The extent of the exemption is determined by the exemption base and the percentage of that base allowed as exempt each year. The exemption base is defined as the increase in assessed value as determined in the initial year of the term of exemption. The exemption applies only to city and school district taxes.
The exemption equals the base exemption multiplied by one of the following percentages:

 Exemption percentage
Year of exemption Percentage of exemption base
1 100
2 80
3 60
4 40
5 20

Special ad valorem levies and special assessments:

Cities and school districts do not levy special ad valorem levies; no exemption from special assessments is allowed.

Coding of exemption on assessment roll:

 Coding of exemption on assessment roll
Code Description of Alternative Codes Possible

Assessment roll section(s):

Taxable (RPS Section 1).

Note: This code should not be used 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)

Form RP-485-j, Syracuse, Application for Residential Investment Real Property Tax Exemption; Certain Cities

Reporting requirements (assessor):


Similar exemptions:

 Similar exemptions
Subject Statute
Certain living quarters constructed to be occupied by a senior citizen or disabled individual RPTL §467-d
First-time homebuyers of newly constructed homes RPTL §457
Private one- and two-family dwellings and certain multiple dwellings in New York City RPTL §421-b
Residential improvements in cities with population of less than 200,000 and more than 150,000 L.1986, Ch. 889
New residential property in certain cities RPTL §485-m
Residential investment in certain municipalities RPTL §§485-h, 485-i, 485-j, 485-k, 485-l, 485-m
Residential property improvement in certain towns RPTL §485-l

Exemption application form

Form RP-485-j, Syracuse.

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