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Exemptions from Real Property Taxation in New York State: 2009 County, City & Town Assessment Rolls

INTRODUCTION

All real property in New York is subject to taxation unless specific legal provisions grant it exempt status, whereas personal property is not subject to taxation. Real property tax exemptions are granted on the basis of many different criteria, including the use to which the property is put, the owner's ability to pay taxes, the desire of the state and local governments to encourage certain economic or social activities, and other such considerations.1 Certain exemptions provide full relief from taxation (wholly exempt property) and others reduce the taxes which would otherwise be payable by varying degrees (partially exempt property). Some exemptions apply to taxes levied for county, city/town, and school purposes, whereas others pertain only to some of these purposes. Yet another difference involves the extent of local government autonomy: while some exemptions are mandated by state law, others are subject to local option and/or local determination of eligibility criteria.

This report presents exemption data for 2009 assessment rolls prepared by local assessors throughout New York.2 It covers town, city, and county (Tompkins and Nassau Counties) assessment rolls only; village rolls are not included.

Ultimately, the accuracy of the figures presented depends on the accuracy of the data submitted on the rolls. Although the overwhelming majority of reported exemptions could be related to specific legal provisions through the standardized reporting system provided by the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS), a very small percentage could not be classified because incorrect codes were used, and are thus omitted from certain tables in this report. Similarly, any errors made by assessors in determining the value of a parcel, or the extent to which this value is exempt from taxation, will appear in the data contained herein. Also, experience has shown that some assessors may not keep the values placed on wholly exempt property fully up to date, as valuation of such property has, for the most part, no effect on local tax revenue. Incorrect assessed values may overstate or understate the effect of exemptions on local tax bases.

The remainder of the report presents a summary of the 2009 statewide statistics on exempt property, followed by Appendix A which contains a list of abbreviations and definitions for terms used in the detailed tables that comprise Appendix B.

distribution by type of ownership for 2008

Table 1.
Real Property Tax Exemptions by Property Group,
2009 Assessment Rolls
Group Number of
Exemptions
Equalized
Exempt Value
($000)
A. Residential Property other than Multiple Dwellings Non-Residential Property Owned by Certain Individuals 4,258,309 $234,163,844
B. Property of New York State Government and Agencies 19,369 82,562,614
C. Property of Municipal Governments and Agencies, School Districts, BOCES, and Special Districts 100,569 199,928,263
D. Property of U.S. and Foreign Governments and Agencies, International or Interstate Agencies, and Indian Tribes 4,005 44,471,354
E. Property of Private Community Service Organizations, Social Organizations, and Professional Societies 69,130 112,784,831
F. Industrial, Commercial, and Public Service Property 25,097 69,615,217
G. Urban Renewal Property, Public Housing, and Private Subsidized Housing (Multiple Dwellings) 90,492 52,897,607
H. Agricultural and Forest Property 96,491 7,235,950
        Total, Valid Exemption Codes 4,663,462 803,659,681
               Invalid Codes 2,603 1,576,293
        TOTAL 4,666,065 $805,235,974

 

Table 2.
Exemptions for County Purposes:
Geographic Areas with Highest and Lowest Incidence of
Exempt Value, 2009 Assessment Rolls
A.     TEN WITH HIGHEST INCIDENCE
  COUNTIES CITIES TOWNS
    Pct.
Exempt
  Pct.
Exempt
  Pct.
Exempt
1. Seneca 39.9% Ogdensburg (St. L.) 64.1% Harrisburg (Lew.) 88.4%
2. Tompkins 39.3% Ithaca (Tom.) 62.1% Ashford (Cat.) 87.2%
3. Oswego 38.4% Troy (Ren.) 60.2% Scriba (Osw.) 85.8%
4. St. Lawrence 38.1% Salamanca (Cat.) 59.9% Martinsburg (Lew.) 84.7%
5. Cattaraugus 37.4% Geneva (Ont.) 59.2% Romulus (Sen.) 81.0%
6. Lewis 37.0% Albany (Alb.) 55.5% Alfred (All.) 79.4%
7. Allegany 34.5% Watervliet (Alb.) 54.6% Clinton (Cli.) 77.8%
8. Niagara 33.2% Dunkirk (Cha.) 53.9% Athens (Gre.) 76.5%
9. Oneida 32.0% Olean (Cat.) 52.1% Eagle (Wyo.) 75.9%
10. Clinton 31.8% Oneonta (Ots.) 51.7% Marcy (One.) 74.9%
   
B.     TEN WITH LOWEST INCIDENCE
  COUNTIES CITIES TOWNS
    Pct.
Exempt
  Pct.
Exempt
  Pct.
Exempt
1. Hamilton 6.9% Long Beach (Nas.) 11.3% Benson (Ham.) 1.1%
2. Putnam 10.6% Mechanicville (Sar.) 15.9% Arietta (Ham.) 2.0%
3. Warren 10.7% Lockport (Nia.) 16.0% Hope (Ham.) 2.3%
4. Ulster 12.5% Tonawanda (Eri.) 17.1% Inlet (Ham.) 2.7%
5. Saratoga 14.1% Rye (Wes.) 17.3% Wayne (Ste.) 2.7%
6. Rockland 14.6% No. Tonawanda (Nia.) 17.4% Ohio (Her.) 2.9%
7. Columbia 16.1% Sherrill (One.) 18.1% Pittsfield (Ots.) 3.0%
8. Schuyler 16.2% Glen Cove (Nas.) 18.4% Olive (Uls.) 3.4%
9. Fulton 16.6% Sara. Springs (Sar.) 18.8% Ellicottville (Cat.) 3.6%
10. Washington 16.8% Kingston (Uls.) 20.6% Horicon (War.) 3.6%

 

Table 3.
Exemptions for County Purposes:
Counties Ranked by Percent of Full Value Exempt,
2009 Assessment Rolls*
Rank County No. of
Exemptions
Exempt Value
($000)
Pct. of
Value
Exempt
1. Seneca 5,492 1,169,469 39.93%
2. Tompkins 7,209 4,139,490 39.31%
3. Oswego 12,772 3,189,996 38.45%
4. St Lawrence 13,117 3,224,043 38.14%
5. Cattaraugus 10,800 2,254,765 37.40%
6. Lewis 5,453 1,082,143 37.04%
7. Allegany 7,342 909,786 34.49%
8. Niagara 22,703 4,869,635 33.17%
9. Oneida 28,390 5,167,210 31.98%
10. Clinton 9,675 2,097,422 31.83%
11. Rensselaer 15,447 4,858,801 31.55%
12. Wyoming 6,591 880,896 31.10%
13. Albany 25,040 10,850,240 30.41%
14. Greene 5,436 2,525,496 29.09%
15. Jefferson 11,639 2,968,790 28.90%
16. Montgomery 6,916 877,203 28.34%
17. Broome 19,529 3,756,104 27.37%
18. Schoharie 5,164 783,050 25.67%
19. Tioga 5,529 850,561 24.83%
20. Onondaga 45,992 8,256,009 24.82%
21. Chautauqua 17,147 2,164,464 24.50%
22. Livingston 7,949 1,008,667 24.04%
23. Steuben 14,003 1,569,334 23.87%
24. Westchester 41,744 57,105,530 23.76%
25. Yates 4,753 668,753 23.67%
26. Genesee 8,944 770,377 23.58%
27. Erie 101,128 14,182,974 23.49%
28. Madison 8,758 1,173,668 23.07%
29. Otsego 6,757 1,421,225 22.67%
30. Cortland 5,372 624,482 22.44%
31. Ontario 11,346 2,144,563 21.83%
32. Franklin 4,183 1,003,686 21.66%
33. Chemung 8,620 1,025,551 21.39%
34. Wayne 10,642 1,201,232 21.10%
35. Cayuga 11,345 1,134,621 20.87%
36. Suffolk 133,343 77,334,985 20.81%
37. Essex 6,621 1,661,057 20.61%
38. Schenectady 13,677 2,706,409 20.54%
39. Orleans 5,298 401,751 20.16%
40. Monroe 59,201 9,683,916 20.09%
41. Chenango 6,895 597,862 19.75%
42. Sullivan 9,762 2,279,734 19.21%
43. Dutchess 21,339 8,391,427 18.94%
44. Nassau 86,842 57,703,053 18.66%
45. Herkimer 7,126 992,378 18.43%
46. Orange 25,971 8,364,335 18.07%
47. Delaware 5,449 1,187,031 17.18%
48. Washington 8,685 993,024 16.77%
49. Fulton 6,650 625,898 16.61%
50. Schuyler 2,994 229,274 16.23%
51. Columbia 8,717 1,624,370 16.06%
52. Rockland 17,694 7,251,613 14.64%
53. Saratoga 15,887 3,595,860 14.10%
54. Ulster 16,026 2,947,947 12.46%
55. Warren 6,624 1,363,087 10.68%
56. Putnam 7,108 1,820,899 10.58%
57. Hamilton 997 208,455 6.93%
*Excludes New York City boroughs; New York City data included in Table 4.

 

Table 4.
Exemptions for County Purposes:
Cities Ranked by Percent of Full Value Exempt,
2009 Assessment Rolls*
Rank County No. of
Exemptions
Exempt Value
($000)
Pct. of
Value
Exempt
1. Ogdensburg 1,064 491,519 64.06%
2. Ithaca 981 2,423,892 62.09%
3. Troy 3,127 2,878,744 60.19%
4. Salamanca 1,313 146,148 59.88%
5. Geneva 1,138 527,211 59.18%
6. Albany 7,028 6,456,257 55.50%
7. Watervliet 626 467,212 54.56%
8. Dunkirk 1,458 364,196 53.86%
9. Olean 1,375 539,345 52.09%
10. Oneonta 586 553,662 51.71%
11. Syracuse 9,208 4,186,299 49.60%
12. Peekskill 1,045 2,031,395 48.83%
13. Rome 4,036 947,283 46.22%
14. Niagara Falls 5,610 1,119,740 44.36%
15. Hudson 675 306,027 43.84%
16. Little Falls 452 118,583 43.25%
17. Rensselaer 754 297,681 42.61%
18. Norwich 525 141,805 38.10%
19. Buffalo 25,082 3,699,377 37.62%
20. Utica 5,963 876,806 37.08%
21. Plattsburgh 1,381 500,336 36.92%
22. Oswego 1,490 434,154 36.84%
23. Elmira 2,245 359,577 36.63%
24. Yonkers 7,539 11,009,828 36.46%
25. Cortland 1,128 295,951 35.97%
26. Jamestown 2,498 370,323 35.59%
27. White Plains 1,773 5,358,231 34.86%
28. Johnstown 886 183,094 34.80%
29. Binghamton 3,816 816,787 34.20%
30. New York City 960,325 309,599,541 34.07%
31. Schenectady 4,841 1,196,329 33.13%
32. Hornell 866 108,708 31.58%
33. Auburn 2,636 413,246 30.65%
34. Amsterdam 1,711 229,529 30.09%
35. Watertown 2,196 458,033 29.95%
36. New Rochelle 2,603 4,978,355 29.94%
37. Rochester 12,129 2,385,660 29.41%
38. Gloversville 1,453 145,209 29.27%
39. Cohoes 1,240 285,716 29.24%
40. Newburgh 1,061 541,581 28.87%
41. Corning 1,230 203,856 28.32%
42. Canandaigua 716 249,274 27.73%
43. Lackawanna 2,284 171,268 26.94%
44. Poughkeepsie 1,587 786,836 26.25%
45. Batavia 1,504 179,739 25.43%
46. Glens Falls 1,129 345,414 25.17%
47. Mt Vernon 1,757 1,849,429 24.28%
48. Beacon 933 369,706 23.67%
49. Oneida 1,139 149,537 23.65%
50. Fulton 1,099 102,063 22.96%
51. Middletown 1,278 524,174 22.78%
52. Port Jervis 697 133,620 21.19%
53. Kingston 1,388 474,155 20.65%
54. Sara. Springs 1,660 882,258 18.82%
55. Glen Cove 982 1,032,921 18.41%
56. Sherrill 430 37,123 18.06%
57. No. Tonawanda 3,839 247,976 17.44%
58. Rye 685 1,498,936 17.27%
59. Tonawanda 2,143 120,971 17.15%
60. Lockport 1,659 133,346 16.01%
61. Mechanicville 324 39,356 15.94%
62. Long Beach 1,353 668,750 11.33%

 


Table 5.
Exemptions for County Purposes:
Towns with Over 50 Percent Full Value Exempt,
2009 Assessment Rolls
Rank Town No. of
Exemptions
Exempt Value
($000)
Pct. of
Value Exempt
1. Harrisburg 160 228,472 88.37%
2. Ashford 352 808,680 87.18%
3. Scriba 683 1,814,412 85.81%
4. Martinsburg 476 317,001 84.72%
5. Romulus 446 588,110 81.01%
6. Alfred 280 361,323 79.44%
7. Clinton 200 137,297 77.81%
8. Athens 523 1,630,168 76.52%
9. Eagle 334 160,174 75.89%
10. Marcy 717 1,201,819 74.89%
11. Wethersfield 277 117,483 73.25%
12. Le Ray 709 1,049,774 71.34%
13. Massena 1390 1,204,828 68.49%
14. Chateaugay 285 154,799 68.42%
15. Lewiston 1558 1,978,625 68.17%
16. Altona 359 174,414 64.83%
17. Blenheim 146 66,058 62.26%
18. Cohocton 663 159,263 60.48%
19. Sheldon 508 191,127 57.82%
20. Waddington 456 147,748 55.79%
21. Eaton 636 235,085 55.56%
22. Ellenburg 421 129,290 54.18%
23. Hamilton 539 292,391 52.89%
24. Delhi 358 349,980 51.72%
25. Sharon 386 110,209 51.42%
26. Junius 325 69,188 50.98%
27. Hopewell 491 201,735 50.84%



Table 6.
Geographic Areas with Highest and Lowest Incidence of
Local-Option Exempt Value, 2009 Assessment Rolls

A.     TEN WITH HIGHEST INCIDENCE
  COUNTIES CITIES TOWNS
    Pct.
Local-
Option*
  Pct.
Local-
Option*
  Pct.
Local-
Option*
1 Lewis 45.5% Johnstown (Ful.) 31.8% Harrisburg (Lew.) 96.0%
2 Oswego 30.8% Lackawanna (Eri.) 29.9% Martinsburg (Lew.) 88.4%
3 Hamilton 21.0% Sara. Springs (Sar.) 28.1% Fenner (Mad.) 68.2%
4 Nassau 19.2% Cohoes (Alb.) 23.4% Ontario (Way.) 65.1%
5 Wayne 19.0% Auburn (Cay.) 21.4% Scriba (Osw.) 56.8%
6 Fulton 18.6% Long Beach (Nas.) 20.5% Piercefield (St. L.) 48.3%
7 Saratoga 15.2% Glen Cove (Nas.) 18.9% Shelter Island (Suf.) 48.2%
8 Orleans 15.1% Tonawanda (Eri.) 16.6% Madison (Mad.) 45.9%
9 Columbia 14.7% No. Tonawanda (Nia.) 15.6% Tyre (Sen.) 45.0%
10 Schenectady 14.6% Poughkeepsie (Dut.) 15.2% Lake Pleasant (Ham.) 42.0%

B.     TEN WITH LOWEST INCIDENCE
  COUNTIES CITIES TOWNS
    Pct.
Local-
Option*
  Pct.
Local-
Option*
  Pct.
Local-
Option*
1 Tompkins 3.4% Ithaca (Tom.) 1.0% Red House (Cat.) 0.0%
2 Allegany 4.4% Little Falls (Her.) 2.4% Romulus (Sen.) 0.4%
3 Delaware 4.8% White Plains (Wes.) 3.3% Alfred (All.) 0.5%
4 Wyoming 5.2% Albany (Alb.) 3.3% Ashford (Cat.) 0.5%
5 Cattaraugus 5.3% Geneva (Ont.) 3.3% Clinton (Cli.) 0.8%
6 Seneca 5.4% Peekskill (Wes.) 3.5% Eagle (Wyo.) 0.8%
7 St Lawrence 5.9% Watervliet (Alb.) 4.0% Sheldon (Wyo.) 0.9%
8 Yates 6.1% Dunkirk (Cha.) 4.4% Delhi (Del.) 1.1%
9 Niagara 6.3% Olean (Cat.) 4.7% Blenheim (Scho.) 1.1%
10 Greene 6.7% Salamanca (Cat.) 4.8% Athens (Gre.) 1.4%

*Exempt value of local-option exemptions divided by total exempt value.

 


Table 7.
Exempt Value Attributable to Local Option, Counties Ranked by Percent of Exempt Value, 2008 Assessment Rolls
Rank County Exempt Value
Local Option
($000)
Total
Exempt Value
($000)
Pct. of
Value
Exempt
1. Lewis 632,962 1,389,807 45.54%
2. Oswego 1,338,025 4,346,654 30.78%
3. Hamilton 61,675 293,250 21.03%
4. Nassau 16,801,346 87,295,448 19.25%
5. Wayne 406,687 2,145,973 18.95%
6. Fulton 231,710 1,242,839 18.64%
7. Saratoga 934,974 6,159,819 15.18%
8. Orleans 123,833 817,575 15.15%
9. Columbia 343,821 2,344,226 14.67%
10. Schenectady 624,411 4,271,892 14.62%
11. Washington 245,123 1,732,641 14.15%
12. Monroe 2,161,100 15,915,904 13.58%
13. Onondaga 1,662,630 12,259,497 13.56%
14. Cayuga 261,982 1,942,330 13.49%
15. Suffolk 13,803,981 102,391,367 13.48%
16. Erie 3,000,302 22,303,769 13.45%
17. Madison 251,499 1,888,361 13.32%
18. Herkimer 224,126 1,694,103 13.23%
19. Rockland 1,594,311 12,596,040 12.66%
20. Ulster 628,417 5,079,546 12.37%
21. Putnam 451,612 3,666,769 12.32%
22. Dutchess 1,400,476 12,420,873 11.28%
23. Livingston 178,917 1,616,240 11.07%
24. Rensselaer 693,932 6,381,161 10.87%
25. Warren 234,400 2,199,106 10.66%
26. Broome 602,939 5,788,127 10.42%
27. Orange 1,220,516 12,574,222 9.71%
28. Essex 207,392 2,149,192 9.65%
29. Genesee 129,755 1,352,880 9.59%
30. Chautauqua 331,812 3,463,160 9.58%
31. Albany 1,221,484 13,447,843 9.08%
32. Oneida 675,621 7,519,164 8.99%
33. Cortland 93,276 1,063,293 8.77%
34. Westchester 6,420,157 77,848,965 8.25%
35. Sullivan 251,494 3,088,099 8.14%
36. Tioga 111,561 1,430,225 7.80%
37. Steuben 198,187 2,578,755 7.69%
38. Chenango 86,998 1,151,573 7.55%
39. Ontario 242,640 3,216,511 7.54%
40. Chemung 137,877 1,862,179 7.40%
41. Jefferson 292,967 4,003,085 7.32%
42. Montgomery 100,753 1,390,611 7.25%
43. Otsego 150,551 2,141,088 7.03%
44. Franklin 104,780 1,492,447 7.02%
45. Schoharie 78,402 1,147,362 6.83%
46. Clinton 191,114 2,797,457 6.83%
47. Schuyler 30,082 451,856 6.66%
48. Greene 213,583 3,209,985 6.65%
49. Niagara 445,555 7,022,826 6.34%
50. Yates 57,367 945,634 6.07%
51. St Lawrence 251,452 4,290,186 5.86%
52. Seneca 81,847 1,521,169 5.38%
53. Cattaraugus 160,235 3,035,842 5.28%
54. Wyoming 66,771 1,292,515 5.17%
55. Delaware 85,555 1,786,228 4.79%
56. Allegany 59,060 1,356,834 4.35%
57. Tompkins 163,353 4,821,926 3.39%

 


Table 8.
City/Town Distribution of Exempt Value Attributable to Local Option Exemptions: 2009 Assessment Rolls
Percent of Value in
Local Option Exemptions
Number of
Cities/Towns
Percent of
Cities/Towns
0 - 9.9 540 54.3%
10 - 19.9 384 38.6%
20 - 29.9   51   5.1%
30 - 39.9   9   0.9%
40 or more   10   1.0%

 

1Most exemptions are granted under Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law, but others are authorized by a wide variety of statutes ranging from the Agriculture and Markets Law to the Transportation Law.

2The material in the report relates to exemptions only. Not covered are the restricted assessments which apply to certain types of property (e.g., condominiums), tax abatement programs, and formerly real property which has been statutorily redefined as personal (non-taxable) property (e.g., certain switching equipment owned by telephone companies). Restricted assessments, tax abatements, and statutory redefinitions, like exemptions, are tax expenditures in that they reduce or shift tax liability.

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