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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 24

Opinions of Counsel index

Real property, definition of (trailers or mobile homes) (effect of classification under sales tax law) - RPTL, § 102(12)(g); Tax Law, § 1101:

The classification of a trailer or mobile home for purposes of imposition of the State sales tax does not affect the classification of the same for purposes of the RPTL.

We have been asked whether the assessment and taxation of mobile homes will be affected by the addition (L.1983, c.986) to the Tax Law, section 1101(b)(9) of a provision regarding sales taxes, to the effect that “A mobile home shall not constitute an addition or capital improvement to real property, property or land, regardless of the nature of its installation.”

Mobile homes or trailers are included in the definition of “real property” (RPTL, § 102(12)(g)) if they are or can be used for residential, commercial or office purposes, except those: (1) located within the boundaries of an assessing unit for less than 60 days; or (2) unoccupied and for sale.

Mobile homes have been denned as personal property in Article 28 of the Tax Law for purposes of the sales tax and as real property in RPTL, section 102(12)(g) for purposes of the real property tax. This dichotomy was considered by the Appellate Division, Third Department, in a sales tax case (Broadway Mobile Homes Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 67 A.D.2d 1029, 413 N.Y.S.2d 231 (3d Dept., 1979) mot. lv. to app. den. 46 N.Y.2d 713, 416 N.Y.S.2d 1027 (1979)). Citing its prior decision in Roberson v. State Tax Commission, 64 A.D.2d 898, 410 N.Y.S.2d 693 (3d Dept., 1978), the court held that the classification of mobile homes as real property in RPTL, section 102(12)(g) for purposes of the administration of the real property tax is not determinative of the status of mobile homes for purposes of a sales tax imposed under Article 28 of the Tax Law. It is our opinion that the converse is also true, and therefore, the amendment made in Article 28 by chapter 986 of the Laws of 1983 does not have any impact on the assessment of mobile homes pursuant to RPTL, section 102(12)(g).

April 12, 1984