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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 53

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessment review, board of (filing of complaint) (adjourned hearings); (hearings; meetings) (established by charter) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 512, 524, 528, 2006:

A city or county charter provision that requires the board of assessment review to meet on a specified date to hear complaints with respect to tentative assessments supersedes the generally applicable date set in the Real Property Tax Law. A board of assessment review subject to the provisions of section 528 of the RPTL may not accept new complaints at adjourned hearings.

Our opinion has been requested regarding the assessment calendar in a municipality subject to a city or county charter. Specifically, the question is whether the assessing unit’s board of assessment review must meet to hear assessment complaints on the fourth Tuesday in May in accordance with the statutory amendment (L.1991, c.662) to Real Property Tax Law (RPTL), sections 506(2) and 512(1). A second question is whether the board of assessment review may accept complaints filed at adjourned hearings.

The assessment calendar generally applicable throughout the State is set. forth in RPTL, Article 5, Title 1. However, section 2006 of the RPTL provides for the continuation of preexisting inconsistent provisions in city charters or county charters or codes.

Many city and county charters establish their own assessment calendar which may differ from that in the RPTL. If the charter states that the board of assessment review’s hearing date will be that specified in the RPTL, hearings will now be conducted on the fourth Tuesday of May. If, however, the charter provides a date certain for the board of assessment review hearing date, that date controls, not the date specified in the RPTL. Naturally, should the city or county so choose, the relevant charter provision may be amended to conform to the State law as it was recently amended.

Until January 2, 1992, RPTL, section 524(1), authorized the filing of complaints at adjourned hearings. However, that section has now been amended to specifically proscribe the filing of complaints with the board of assessment review at an adjourned hearing. Accordingly, no board of assessment review subject to section 524(1) has the authority to accept complaints filed at adjourned hearings.

This prohibition is applicable throughout the State, except for the City of New York. Indeed, the prohibition governs even if a city or county charter provides otherwise. This is because section 524 is included within Title 1-A of Article 5 of the RPTL. Section 528 of this title provides that the Title (i.e., §§ 522-528) “shall apply to all counties except counties wholly within a city” (subd. 3) and, further, that no “charter law” as defined in Municipal Home Rule Law, section 32, or local law shall be adopted which is inconsistent with the Title.

April 3, 1992