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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 104

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (local authorization) (ownership requirement) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

All of the provisions of section 467, including the amendment which reduced the length of ownership requirement to twenty-four months (L.1974, c. 1004) , are applicable to municipalities which have enacted an aged exemption, and although such municipalities may choose to revoke the exemption in its entirety, they may not vary its statutory terms while continuing to grant it.

We have received an inquiry concerning the partial real property tax exemption for elderly persons authorized by section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law. The question is whether a municipality, in this case a school district, which by resolution had granted the exemption to otherwise qualified persons owning real property for the previously required sixty consecutive months, must now grant the exemption to such persons who have owned property for twenty-four months as provided for in the most recent amendment to section 467.

Section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law (added by L.1966, c.616) authorizes any county, city, town, village or school district to enact a local law, ordinance or resolution granting a partial exemption from taxation by said municipal corporation on real property owned by persons sixty-five years of age or over meeting the qualifications enumerated within section 467. Subdivision 3 (a) authorizes a granting municipality to set an income limitation for otherwise qualified applicants at any figure between $3,000 and $6,500. A municipality which has acted to grant the exemption may, at a subsequent date, reconsider its act and revoke the exemption (1966, Op.Atty.Gen. 182; 23 Op.State Compt. 316).

Section 467, when adopted, must be adopted in its entirety. The local law, ordinance or resolution granting the exemption may not vary the terms of the statute authorizing the exemption. However, by express statutory authority, a municipality has the option of granting the exemption, setting the income limitation within prescribed limits, and revoking the exemption which it had granted earlier (see, 2 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 64; 3 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 70).

Section 467 as originally enacted provided in subdivision 3 (b) that no exemption could be granted unless the title of the property was vested in the owners for at least sixty consecutive months. This provision was amended by chapter 1004 of the Laws of 1974 reducing the sixty consecutive months requirement to twenty-four months. In accordance with general rules of statutory construction, amendments and the original statute are construed together and the original act with all its amendments must be viewed as one law (Lyon v. Manhattan R. Co., 142 N.Y. 298, 37 N.E. 113). Therefore, all of the current provisions of section 467 as amended apply in those municipalities which have granted the exemption notwithstanding the fact that section 467 may have been amended after a municipality had granted the exemption. Of course, following amendment of section 467, a granting municipality may reexamine its action in light of the amendment, and if it so desires, take action to revoke the exemption.

February 4, 1975