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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 103

Opinions of Counsel index

Taxable status date (partially completed structures) - Real Property Tax Law, § 302:

Except in New York City, where a special charter provision controls, structures which are partially completed as of taxable status date are to be assessed according to their condition as of such date.

We have been asked if the board of assessors may assess a building which has not been completely finished.

Section 302 of the Real Property Tax Law provides, in part, as follows:

1. The taxable status of real property in cities and towns shall be determined annually as of the first day of May. All real property shall be assessed in the city or town in which it is situated according to its condition and ownership as of such date. . . .

Pursuant to the above statute all real property in cities and towns shall be assessed according to its condition and ownership as of May 1 (or the appropriate taxable status date) each year. The statutory reference “according to its condition” refers to the physical condition of the property on May 1. If the property is a vacant lot on such date, then the assessors must determine the full valuation of such lot. If there is a building under construction and only two walls have been erected, then the assessors must determine what is the full valuation of the land with the erected walls. Generally, it may be said that an improvement enhances the value of the land, and whatever the condition of the improvement on May 1, the assessors must determine what the property in its condition would be worth on the open market on such date.

While the above is the general rule, the New York City Administrative Code, section E 17.10.0 provides that:

[a] building in course of construction, commenced since the preceding twenty-fifth day of January and not ready for occupancy on the twenty-fifth day of January following, shall not be assessed unless it shall be ready for occupancy, or a part thereof shall be occupied prior to fifteenth day of April.

However, this section is applicable only to property in New York City.

February 25, 1975