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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 101

Opinions of Counsel index

Valuation date (generally) - Real Property Tax Law, § 301:

All real property, which is subject to taxation, and which is located in assessing units having a March 1 taxable status date, is valued as of the preceding January 1.

In assessing units subject to the assessment calendar prescribed by the Real Property Tax Law (RPTL), the assessments on the assessment roll must be based upon the condition and ownership of property on March 1 of that year (the taxable status date (RPTL, § 302)), and upon the value of the property as of January 1 of the same year (the valuation date (RPTL, § 301)). We have been asked to clarify the application of section 301, which provides:

Valuation date. All real property subject to taxation, and assessed as of a March first taxable status date, shall be valued as of the preceding first day of January. The valuation date of real property in a city or town not subject to the provisions of this section shall be determined as of the date provided by law applicable to such city or town, or if not so provided, then as of the taxable status date of the city or town. The valuation date of the real property entered on any assessment roll shall be imprinted or otherwise indicated at the top of the first page of each volume of such roll.

Section 301 was added to the RPTL (L.1984, c.379, § 1) at the suggestion of the State Board of Equalization and Assessment. Separating valuation date from taxable status date and setting that valuation date at an earlier point in time recognizes that the assessor needs time to collect and analyze the sales data that helps the assessor to determine the market value of property and, thereafter, assess that property.

The relationship between valuation date and taxable status date was well explained in Beisner v. Campbell, 137 Misc.2d 296, 520 N.Y.S.2d 474 (Sup.Ct., Dutchess Co. 1987), where the court considered the circumstance of a home that was 70 percent complete on January 1 and fully complete on March 1. In explaining the interrelationship of the two dates, the court concluded that the assessment is the value of the structure in place on taxable status date, March 1. The date as of which that structure is valued is the preceding January 1, the valuation date. The assessment roll which is based on those two dates is to be used for the levy of school taxes in the following September (RPTL, § 1306) and for the levy of county and town taxes on the following December 31 (RPTL, § 900).

It should also be noted that section 301 requires that the valuation date be imprinted on the first page of the assessment roll (RPTL, § 301; 9 NYCRR 190-1.3(a)(1)). Thus, the valuation date of an assessment should be readily ascertainable by referring to that assessment roll.

Finally, we note that in assessing units, such as cities, which do not operate on the assessment calendar prescribed by the RPTL, reference must be made to the appropriate charter or special tax act provision to ascertain the valuation date. If none is provided, then the valuation date is deemed to be the same date as the taxable status date for the assessing unit (RPTL, § 301).

September 16, 1992