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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 64

Opinions of Counsel index

Approved assessing units (portions) (villages) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1901:

For purposes of Article 19, base proportions for homestead and non-homestead classes on a town assessment roll will not be established for a village within that town, for any tax levy. A village is a “portion” for purposes of Article 19 only if it is located within a county assessing unit.

We have been asked whether the provisions of Article 19 of the Real Property Tax Law require determination of base proportions (for homestead and non-homestead classes) for the part of any town within a village. It has been suggested that it would be “more logical” to calculate such proportions for each village rather than to use the town-wide base proportions since the area of the town-outside-village (T.O.V.) is designated as a “portion”.

Base proportions could be established for a village as an assessing unit if it is certified as an “approved assessing unit.” Such proportions would be derived from the village assessment roll and used for village tax levies, if the governing body of the village were to adopt the provisions of section 1903.

Otherwise, base proportions would be established for a village only if it is located within a county assessing unit (see, § 1901(g), wherein the term “portion” is defined to include a village only under this circumstance). Elsewhere, a portion includes only the part of an assessing unit included within:

1. the boundaries of a school district which levies taxes on the assessment roll of such assessing unit;

2. a town excluding all villages therein; and

3. that part of an assessing unit which is a special district which encompasses the entire assessing unit with the exception of one or more entire villages.

In our opinion, the “logic” in this definition of “portion” is based upon a determination that certain taxes imposed upon property in a T.O.V. are not levied upon village residents. Among those charges for which real property located within an incorporated village is not (or may not be) liable are: (1) expenses necessary for the maintenance of a town board of health or for any expenditure authorized by such a town board (Public Health Law, § 306(2)); and (2) certain expenditures for highways and bridges (Highway Law, §§ 277, 141)). Such exceptions aside, county and town levies on the town roll are distributed town-wide without regard to location of property within or without a village. Accordingly, no provision was made in Article 19 for base proportions for the village areas within towns, for town and county levy purposes.

We recognize that the town-county tax rate may also vary between a village and a T.O.V., because of the optional uses of sales tax revenues (see, Tax Law, § 1262(c)). That is, towns and villages generally may elect to receive directly their shares of sales tax revenues in lieu of having those monies applied toward the reduction of county levies within those municipalities. Thus, even for non-T.O.V. charges, a town-wide levy may vary between a village and the town in which it is located. That fact notwithstanding, to the extent that village residents are liable for the same town and county charges as all other town residents, the Legislature has apparently concluded that inter-class tax shares should be distributed within the village on the same basis as the town-wide base proportions.

March 22, 1982