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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 32

Opinions of Counsel index

Correction of errors (final roll) (board of review changes); county director of real property tax services (powers and duties) (changes to final assessment roll) - RPTL, §§ 550, 553, 1532:

Where a board of assessment review includes on a verified statement of changes to the final roll an assessment which was not the subject of the assessor’s petition (EA-553) a county director should not compound the error by “correcting” the unlawful entry included in the statement of changes. There is no statutory authority for a county director to unilaterally change determinations made by a board of assessment review.

The procedure for administrative correction of errors on a final assessment roll is initiated by the assessor. This is clear from the opening paragraph of subdivision one of section 553, “An assessor shall transmit a petition to the chairman of the board of assessment review. . .for correction of any of the following errors[.]” The jurisdiction of the board of assessment review in this regard is limited solely to those assessments which are the subject of the petition(s) by the assessor, as paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this same section provides that:

(b) The appropriate board of assessment review, if it has received one or more petitions transmitted in accordance with the provisions of subdivision two of this section, shall . . . convene to review such petitions, and on such review the board shall have all of the powers and duties imposed by law on boards of review by [RPTL, §512] and by any other law. [Emphasis added]

After reviewing such petitions, the board of assessment review must prepare a verified statement of changes for delivery to “the appropriate tax levying body”, with a copy for the assessor to be filed with the final assessment roll (§ 553(3)(c)). There is no statutory requirement that a copy be delivered to the county director, although that may be the practice if the director is responsible for the printing of the school tax roll (RPTL, § 1532(3)(c), (4)).

The county director should not, however, in the latter circumstance, assume responsibility for reviewing or judging the actions of the board of assessment review. If the board of assessment review directs the changing of an assessment which was not the subject of a petition submitted by the assessor pursuant to section 553, the entry of that change on the final assessment roll would constitute an “unlawful entry”, as defined in section 550(7)(c), since the board is “without authority to make such entry”. Nonetheless the county director should not compound the unlawful entry by acting without jurisdiction to change the board’s statement of changes. The remedy against the board’s actions must follow another course, such as a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the CPLR.

March 26, 1984