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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 14

Opinions of Counsel index

Farm structures and buildings exemption (scope) (school district library purposes) - Real Property Tax Law, § 483:

The exemption granted to farm structures and buildings by section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law is applicable to taxes levied by a school district for library purposes.

We have received an inquiry requesting our opinion as to whether the farm structures and buildings exemption (Real Property Tax Law, § 483) should be applied to taxes levied by a school district for library purposes.

Section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law provides in part, that eligible structures are “exempt from taxation to the extent of any increase in value thereof by reason of . . . construction or reconstruction for a period of five years.” This exemption applies to all property taxes levied by a town, county, village, city or school district for municipal or school district purposes. (See, 1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 96.)

It does not, however, apply to special ad valorem levies or special assessments levied for special district purposes, there being distinction between a “tax” and a “special assessment” or “special ad valorem levy”. Therefore, an exemption statute must specifically provide for an exemption from any special assessments or special ad valorem levies.

A school district is authorized, pursuant to section 277 of the Education Law, “. . . to raise moneys by tax in the same manner as other school moneys are raised . . . for starting, extending, or caring for the school library.” (emphasis added) The amount needed for such purpose, therefore, is to be levied against the assessed value of property for school district purposes in the same manner as general school taxes are levied.

In the event that property is wholly or partially exempt for school tax purposes, such property will also be wholly or partially exempt for any tax levied for school district library purposes. The fact that such levy is computed and listed separately has no bearing on the application of the exemption.

September 12, 1974