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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 54

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (ownership requirement) (title in a corporation) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Where title to property is in the name of a corporation, the aged exemption may not be granted.

          We have received an inquiry concerning the ownership requirement of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law which authorizes a partial exemption from taxation on residential real property owned by aged persons who meet certain statutory requirements. A senior citizen who has owned property in a certain county for twenty years, incorporated himself in 1972. The corporation is now listed as the owner of this property. The question is whether an exemption may be allowed on the subject property.

Section 467 authorizes a partial exemption from real property taxation on owner-occupied residential real property owned by persons aged sixty-five or over with low income provided that they have owned their homes for at least sixty consecutive months prior to the date of making application therefor and provided that the municipality in which the property is located (i.e., county, city, town, village or school district), after holding a public hearing on the matter, adopts a local law, ordinance or resolution granting the exemption.

Statutes granting exemptions from taxation must be strictly construed (Herkimer County v. Village of Herkimer, 251 App. Div. 126, 295 N.Y.S. 629, aff’d, 279 N.Y. 560, 18 N.E.2d 854) which means that a property owner must comply with all the terms and conditions of the statute in order to qualify for exemption. The specific wording of section 467 requires that the property be “owned” by the aged person. This means that the title, legal or equitable, must be held by or on behalf of the aged person. Here, the title is held by a corporation, not the aged person. Hence, an exemption may not be granted in this case.

April 1, 1974

NOTE: Chapter 1004 of the Laws of 1974 reduced the period of ownership requirement of section 467 to twenty-four months.