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11/14/2022 Assessment Community Weekly

Your questions answered

Thanks to the assessor who sent this! We can’t name the assessor in this case because of the income nature of the question.

Q: Opinion of Counsel 4-114 concludes, “Prize money is income for purposes of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law.” What if the prize is a construction service, like a roof? In this specific case, a taxpayer won a $16,000 roof. It is listed on her income tax, which disqualifies her from 467 for income purposes. Should the value of the prize be subtracted from the income when considering eligibility for the senior citizens exemption?

A: We do not believe that this type of prize should be treated as income for purposes of the 467 exemption. It is true that Opinion of Counsel 4-114 concluded that prize money should be treated as income. However, that conclusion was based largely on the premise that it was the intent of the Legislature to keep senior citizens in their homes based on the “amount of cash accruing to them from all sources with which to meet expenses.” The Opinion said nothing about prizes other than money.

In this case, the prize in question is the construction of a new roof, which may certainly be a valuable prize, but cannot reasonably be characterized as a source of “cash … to meet expenses.” While we understand that a prize of this nature would normally be treated as income for purposes of income taxation, it does not follow that it must be treated as income for purposes of the senior citizens exemption as well.

It is our non-binding opinion that a prize that cannot be readily converted into a source of cash should not be treated as income for 467 purposes.

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