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State Owned Land

State Owned Land

A. Introduction

B. New Acquisitions & Dispositions

C. Assessment Approval Process: Taxable State Land

D. Acquisition of Conservation Easements

E. Assessment Approval Process: Conservation & Common Law Easements

F. Assessment Approval Process: Transition Assessments

G. Assessment Approval Process: Aggregate Additional Assessments

H. Supplemental Assessment Approval Process

A. Introduction

Lands owned by the State of New York are generally exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 404 of the Real Property Tax Law. However, certain lands owned by the State are taxable for specific taxing purposes pursuant to Sections 532, 533, 534 and 536 of the Real Property Tax Law and Section 15-2115 of the Environmental Conservation Law. Locally determined assessments of taxable State land are reviewed by the Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS) annually. This section details procedures for exempt and taxable State land including the acquisition and disposition of State lands, the annual approval process for taxable State land assessments and the supplemental assessment approval process for new acquisitions of taxable State land. These procedures are contained in Subpart 8199 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR), and the Procedures of the Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS) for the assessment of Taxable State Land.

ORPTS has limited responsibilities with respect to State land which is exempt from taxation. Responsibilities include notifying local officials of the purchase or sale of certain exempt State lands and, when required, establishing a transition assessment pursuant to Section 545 of the Real Property Tax Law. The Office of General Services maintains any available inventory or other information on these State lands.

B. New Acquisitions and Dispositions

1. Reporting of an Acquisition by the State Entity Acquiring the Property

Whenever any department, agency or public authority or other instrumentality of the State of New York takes title to any real property, except real property acquired for highway purposes or easements other than conservation easements, it notifies ORPTS within 90 days and provides the following information:

  1. city, town or village in which the real property is located;
  2. purpose of and statutory authority for the acquisition;
  3. whether the acquisition is to be used in conjunction with other lands already owned by the State;
  4. parcel size;
  5. a copy of the transfer and the liber and page of recording;
  6. four copies of any available maps;
  7. date and method of vesting title;
  8. any available appraisals of the acquisition; and
  9. a description of any improvements on the land.  

2. Determination of the Taxable Status of Property Acquired by the State

  1. Determination
    Shortly after notification of the acquisition from the acquiring entity, Counsel makes a determination of the taxable status of the property acquired and the affected assessment rolls. Property is deemed taxable pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Sections 532, 533, 534 or 536 or Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115, or is deemed exempt from taxation pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 404.
        
  2. Law Section Summary
    1. Real Property Tax Law Section 532
      Parcels subject to taxation pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 532 are taxable for all purposes. The various subsections include:
      1. 532(a)--All wild or forest lands owned by the State within the forest preserve;
      2. 532(b)--All wild or forest lands owned by the State in the towns of Altona and Dannemora, Clinton County, except lands in Dannemora upon which buildings and inclosures are erected and maintained by the State for the use of State institutions;
      3. 532(c)--All state land located within the boundaries of the Allegany State Park, Cattaraugus County, exclusive of the improvements thereon;
      4. 532(d)--All lands in the Counties of Rockland & Putnam, acquired for public use by the State, exclusive of improvements erected thereon by the State;
      5. 532(e)--All land in the counties of Rockland and Sullivan, in the towns of Monroe, Warwick, Cornwall, Highlands, Tuxedo and Woodbury in Orange County and in the towns of Gardiner, Rochester, Shawangunk and Wawarsing in Ulster County, acquired for public use by the Commissioners of the Palisades Interstate Park, exclusive of the improvements erected thereon by the State;
      6. 532(f)--All lands acquired or leased by the State pursuant to Chapter 148 of the Laws of 1878 for the construction and management of a railroad from Lake Champlain to Clinton Prison;
      7. 532(g)--All lands owned by the State, including lands leased from the United States for a term of fifty years or more for use by the conservation department as a fish hatchery, game farm, game management area or game refuge or for reforestation purposes, exclusive of the improvements erected thereon by the State, in the following towns:
         
        CountyTown
        Chenango Otselic
        Pharsalia
        Sherburne
        Jefferson Antwerp
        Brownville
        Lorraine
        Worth
        Lewis Montague
        Livingston *Conesus
        Livonia
        Springwater
        West Sparta
        Ontario *Canadice
        *Richmond
        Oswego Redfield
        Otsego Morris
        Pittsfield
        Rensselaer Berlin
        Stephentown
        Steuben Wayland
        Yates Italy
        *Applies only to land acquired by the State on or after December 15, 1989
      8. 532(h)--All lands owned by the State, noted as Basha Kill wetlands located in the Town of Mamakating in Sullivan County.
      9. 532(i)--All lands owned by the State in the Neversink Gorge areas in the towns of Forestburgh, Thompson and Mamakating in Sullivan County.
      10. 532(j)--All lands owned by the state pursuant to subdivision two of section 208 of the racing pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law located within the counties of Nassau, Queens and Saratoga, inclusive of the improvements erected thereon.
          
    2. Real Property Tax Law Section 533
      Parcels subject to taxation pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 533 are any common law easement acquired by the State on or before January 1, 1990 within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and any conservation easements acquired by the State pursuant to Title 3 Article 49 of the Environmental Conservation Law within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks or within the watershed of Hemlock or Canadice Lakes in the towns of Livonia, Conesus, West Sparta and Springwater in Livingston County, the towns of Canadice and Richmond in Ontario County and the town of Wayland in Steuben County and lands within the Tug Hill region, as defined by Article 37 of the Executive Law. Easements limit or restrict development, management or use of real property for the purpose of preserving or maintaining its scenic, open, historic, archaeological, architectural or natural condition, character significance, or amenities. These easements are taxable for all purposes.
       
    3. Real Property Tax Law Section 534
      Parcels subject to taxation pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 534 are taxable for all purposes except county. These lands are generally acquired for reforestation purposes pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law Section 9-0501. Under Subdivision 3 of RPTL Section 534, certain lands not otherwise subject to taxation which were acquired for reforestation or multiple use purposes with funds from the 1960 Park and Recreation Land Acquisition Bond Act are taxable if the total acreage of these lands in any assessing unit exceeds three thousand acres and comprises at least 9½ percent of the total acreage in the assessing unit.
       
    4. Real Property Tax Law Section 536
      Parcels taxable pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 536 are taxable for school purposes only. The various subsections include:
      (1)(a) Lands owned by the State, exclusive of the improvements erected thereon by the State, as found in the following school districts:
       
      CountySchool DistrictTown

      Broome

      Common 4,11

      Kirkwood

      Dutchess

      Common 2
      Common 1,2
      Common 6,8,9
      Common 3,4
      Common 3

      Amenia
      Beekman
      Dover
      Fishkill
      LaGrange

      Erie Common 3 Collins
      Herkimer Common 11,12,13 Russia
      Livingston Common 7 Groveland
      Madison Common 8 Eaton
      Monroe Common 1 Rush
      Oneida Union Free 13 Westmoreland and
      Rome (City)
      Orange Common 1
      Union Free 4,5
      Common 2
      Common 16
      Cornwall
      Cornwall
      Wallkill
      Warwick
      Orleans Common 6 Albion
      Saratoga Common 5 Saratoga Springs(City)
      Seneca Common 5 Ovid & Romulus
      Suffolk Common 7
      Common 15
      Common 16
      Union Free 12,13
      Common 5
      Babylon
      Babylon & Huntington
      Huntington
      Islip
      Smithtown
      Sullivan Common 4 Fallsburgh
      Ulster Union Free 2 Wawarsing
      Westchester Union Free 1 Ossining
      Wyoming Common 2,3 Attica

      (1)(b) Lands owned by the State in the following towns, exclusive of the improvements erected thereon by the State:

      CountyTown
      Cattaraugus Carrollton
      Cold Spring
      Elko
      Great Valley
      Red House
      Salamanca
      South Valley
      Clinton Ellenburg
      Dutchess Hyde Park
      Poughkeepsie
      Greene Coxsackie
      Oneida Lee
      Marcy
      Trenton
      Western
      Orange Highlands
      Tuxedo
      Woodbury
      Rockland All Towns
    5. (1)(c) Lands owned by the State in Union Free School District Number One of the towns of Dannemora and Saranac, Clinton County, Mount Morris Central School District Number One of the towns of Mount Morris, Leicester, Groveland and West Sparta, Livingston County, except State lands constituting a portion of Letchworth Park, Central School District Number Two of the towns of Fort Ann, Hartford and Kingsbury, Washington County and Central School District Number One of the towns of Shawangunk, Plattekill, Gardiner and Marlborough, Ulster County and Newburgh and Montgomery, Orange County.

      Generally, improvements erected thereon by the State or maintained by the State for use as institutions are not taxable. Certain improvements owned by the State and occupied exclusively for residential purposes by persons who pay rent for such occupancy, or, if the occupants are state officials or employees, who either pay such rent or have children who attend a school in one of the districts noted above are taxable.

      (1)(d) Lands owned by the State exclusive of the improvements erected thereon by the State, situated in common school district number two of the Town of Genesee Falls, Wyoming County, constituting a portion of Letchworth Park. The title to such lands was vested in the State on December 1, 1910.

      (1)(e) Lands owned by the state, within the core preservation area of the Central Pine Barrens area as described and bounded by subdivision 11 of Section 57-0107 of the Environmental Conservation Law, situate in the following school districts in the county of suffolk:

      School DistrictTown
      Rocky Point Union Free School District Brookhaven
      Eastport Union Free School District Brookhaven & Southampton
      Longwood Central School District Brookhaven
      Riverhead School District Brookhaven, Riverhead & Southampton
      Hampton Bays Union Free School District Southampton

      (1)(f) Lands owned by the state, outside of the core preservation area of the Central Pine Barrens as described and bounded by paragraph eleven of Section 57-0107 of the environmental conservation law, situate in the Riverhead Central School District within the Town of Riverhead, County of Suffolk, where the title holder is listed as the "State of New York" on the Town of Riverhead's assessment roll as of 3/16/2006.

      (1)(g) Lands owned by the state, exclusive of the improvements erected by the state, in the Smithtown Central School District, in the County of Suffolk, constituting lands in the Town of Smithtown within the following tax identification number: district 0800, section 0040, block 0002, lots 0011, and lands in the Three Village Central School District, constituting lands in the Town of Brookhaven with the following tax identification number: district 0200, section 0273, block 0001, lot 0003.
       

    6. Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115
      Property deemed taxable pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115 is taxable for all purposes. These lands are acquired by the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District. Improvements erected thereon by the district are not taxable.
       
    7. Real Property Tax Law Section 404
      If the property is not taxable pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Sections 532, 533, 534, 536 or Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115, the property is determined to be exempt pursuant to Real Property Tax Law, Section 404.

      Law Section - RPTLTax LiabilityType of Property
      Taxable
      532 a, b, c, f All purposes Land, exclusive of all improvements
      532 d, e, g, h All purposes Land and improvements, exclusive of state erected improvements
      532 i All purposes Land and all improvements
      532 j All purposes & Special Assessments Land and all improvements
      533 All purposes Land and/or improvements as defined in the deed
      534 All except county purposes Land, exclusive of all improvements
      536(1) a, b, d, g School purposes Land and improvements, exclusive of state erected improvements
      536(1) c School purposes Land and improvements, as defined in this subsection
      536(1) e, f School purposes Land and all improvements
          ECL    
      15-2115 All purposes Land and improvements, exclusive of state erected improvements

       
    8. Notice to Local Officials of the Acquisition and Request for Information
      After Office staff has determined the taxable status of the property, a copy of the deed and map and a "Notice of Determination of New York State's Liability for Taxation" are sent to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. The Notice indicates the assessment roll on which the State's tax liability is in effect for each taxing unit.
       
      A "Statement of Assessment Roll Information" is also sent requesting certain information. In all cases, the assessor is requested to provide the local roll identification, school district code and name and any ad valorem special district codes and names. For taxable acquisitions, the assessor is requested to provide the assessed value of the property for the assessment roll(s) indicated. This value is used to determine a supplemental assessment (see Part H of this section). For exempt acquisitions, the assessor is requested to provide the assessed value of the property for the assessment rolls indicated and the total taxable assessed value for ALL property in the taxing units listed for the assessment rolls indicated. This information is used to determine the eligibility of a taxing unit for a transition assessment for exempt State land (see Part F of this section).
      The assessor is instructed to return the completed statement within 30 days of receipt. Failure of the assessor to return the requested information may delay the approval of a supplemental assessment for taxable State land or the establishment of any transition assessment for exempt State land.
       
    9. Reporting of a Disposition by the Appropriate State Entity
       
      Any State entity disposing of State land must notify ORPTS within 90 days of the disposition and must provide the following information:
      1. the city, town or village in which the property lies;
      2. four copies of any available maps;
      3. a copy of the transfer and the liber and page of recording;
      4. the size of the land disposed of;
      5. the date and method of vesting title; and
      6. a description of any improvements.
         
    10. Review of Dispositions
      Upon receipt of the information listed above, Counsel reviews the material. For dispositions of taxable State land, a determination is made concerning the last assessment roll on which the State is liable for taxes.
       
    11. Notice to Local Officials of a Disposition
      The appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services are notified of the disposition of State land. The determination of the last assessment roll on which the State is liable for taxes is noted when taxable State land is sold.

C. Annual Assessment Approval Process - Taxable State Land

1. List Preparation and Completion

The following events are included in the annual assessment approval process for taxable State lands:  

  1. Mailing of the List
    Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 540, ORPTS sends a list of all the taxable State land parcels located in an assessing unit to the assessor for use in preparing the tentative assessment roll. A copy is transmitted to the appropriate Director of Real Property Tax Services. The list is sent shortly after taxable status date.

    The list of taxable State lands contains the following information for each parcel:
    1. SWIS code;
    2. State parcel number;
    3. description;
    4. local assessment roll identifier, if known;
    5. property tax exemption code;
    6. parcel size;
    7. school district name and school district code;
    8. special district names and codes;
    9. designation as subject to Real Property Tax Law Section 542 Adirondack Park Minimum or subject to Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115 River Regulating District Minimum, if applicable;
    10. any taxable conservation or common law easement;
    11. the allocation factor for any taxable conservation or common law easement (refer to Part E of this section concerning the Annual Assessment Approval Process for Conservation and Common Law Easements) and;
    12. assessed value and full value as previously reported by the assessor as of the valuation date of a revaluation or update for the 1991 assessment roll or any subsequent assessment roll.
       
  2. Instructions for the Completion of the List of State Lands Taxable Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law 532, 534(1), 536 and Environmental Conservation Law 15-2115
     
    1. Where an assessing unit as part of an Office approved annual reassessment plan conducts a systematic analysis of assessments in order to sustain equity, the assessor should enter the uniform percentage of value on the first page of the list and sign and date the list.
       
    2. For each parcel on the remaining pages, the assessor should enter the full and assessed value as it will appear on the tentative assessment roll. The assessed value of each parcel must be determined by multiplying the full value of the parcel by the uniform percentage of value. (1. b, c, and d below are not applicable to assessing units in the annual reassessment program.) 
        
    3. Where an assessing unit has completed a revaluation on the current roll, the assessor should enter the uniform percentage of value on the first page of the list and sign and date the list.
       
    4. For each parcel on the remaining pages, the assessor should enter the full and the assessed value as it will appear on the tentative assessment roll. The assessed value of each parcel must be determined by multiplying the full value of the parcel by the uniform percentage of value. Unless a physical change occurs or an error is discovered, these assessments should be entered on any subsequent assessment roll until another revaluation is completed or systematic analysis occurs as part of an Office approved plan for annual reassessment.
       
    5. Where an assessing unit has previously completed a revaluation on the 1991 assessment roll or any subsequent assessment roll and the assessing unit is not doing a reassessment on the current roll, the assessor should verify the uniform percentage as shown on the first page of the list and sign and date the list.
       
    6. For each parcel on the remaining pages, the assessor should verify the full and assessed values as previously reported as of the valuation date of the revaluation or update. If a value is changed, the assessor must report the reason for the difference on the form provided. The corrected value must be as of the valuation date of the revaluation or update. Office staff will review the documentation submitted. Assessed and full values should be provided for any new parcels appearing on the list.
       
    7. For all other assessing units, on the first page of the list, the assessor should enter the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll and sign and date the list. If the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll for the assessing unit has not been established as final, the assessor should enter the tentative State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll.
       
    8. For each parcel on the remaining pages, the assessor should enter the full value and the assessed value as it will appear on the tentative assessment roll. The assessed value of each parcel must be determined by multiplying the full value of the parcel by the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll. Where the tentative State equalization rate is used to determine the assessed value and the final State equalization rate differs from the tentative rate, the assessed value will be adjusted by multiplying the full value of each parcel by the final State equalization rate. The assessed value may not exceed the full value of the parcel.
       
    9. The assessor should review the information supplied for each parcel of taxable State land and note any corrections. Instructions for this review are provided by ORPTS.
       
    10. The completed list should then be returned to ORPTS no later than 20 days prior to the filing of the tentative assessment roll. Where the list for an assessing unit is not received in a timely manner, ORPTS may file a complaint with the appropriate Board of Assessment Review in order to protect the State's rights to administrative and judicial review of the assessments.
       
  3. Returning Incorrect Lists to the Assessor
    Where it appears that the tentative assessment submitted for a parcel is not the product of the submitted full value of the parcel and the reported State equalization rate or uniform percentage, or where the assessed value submitted for a parcel exceeds the full value of the parcel, staff will contact the assessor to resolve the error(s). The corrections should be returned to ORPTS within seven days. Filing an incorrect list carries the same consequences as failure to file a list (see Item b, (3), above).
     
  4. Instructions for the Completion of the List for State Lands Taxable Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law 534(3)
    Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 534(3), certain State lands which were formerly exempt from taxation are subject to taxation for all except county purposes. These lands were acquired for reforestation or multiple use purposes with funds from the Park and Recreation Land Acquisition Bond Act of 1960. The total acreage of these lands must exceed 3,000 acres and comprise at least 9½ percent of the total acreage of the assessing unit.
     
    Where the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll is used to determine taxable State land assessments, the following instructions detail the procedures for the completion of the list. Where the uniform percentage of value is used to determine taxable State land assessments, refer to Part C.1 of this section concerning list preparation and completion.
     
    Shortly after taxable status date, ORPTS transmits a list of these taxable State land parcels to the assessor. A copy is transmitted to the Director of Real Property Tax Services for the county. This list contains the information noted in Part C.1.a. (1) through (8) of this section and the valuation date as of which these parcels are to be valued. This date is the valuation date for the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll. The assessor should enter the full and assessed value of each parcel on the list. The assessed value of each parcel must be determined by multiplying the full value as of the valuation date referred to above by the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll. The assessor should note any corrections to the inventory or description of the parcels and return the list to ORPTS within 10 days of the filing of the tentative assessment roll.
     
    Upon receipt of the completed list, ORPTS reviews the reported values. ORPTS may accept, reject or modify the initial assessments. Where ORPTS modifies or rejects the initial assessment and substitutes a preliminary assessment, the assessor is notified 10 days prior to the filing of the final assessment roll. The appropriate tax levying bodies are also notified. Upon receipt of the list of preliminary assessments, the assessor may submit to ORPTS proposed corrections to the list along with relevant supporting documentation.
     
    ORPTS then reviews any documentation submitted and promulgates final assessments. The assessor's initial assessments will be approved unless ORPTS has modified or rejected the assessments and determined preliminary and final assessments as described above. Shortly after approval, ORPTS transmits a "List of the Approved Assessments" to the assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services for the county. Where ORPTS's preliminary assessment was substituted for the assessor's initial assessment, the final assessment is subject to review in a proceeding commenced by the appropriate assessing authority pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
     
    If the assessor does not provide ORPTS with initial assessments within 10 days of the filing of the tentative assessment roll, or if the assessor does not respond when notified that ORPTS has modified or rejected the initial assessment and substituted a preliminary assessment, ORPTS will promulgate a final assessment for each parcel and transmit a "List of Approved Assessments" to the assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services for the county.

2. Assessment Approval

  1. Approval of Assessments and Establishment of Transition Assessments and Aggregate Additional Assessments
    Pursuant to Real Property Law Section 542, assessments are submitted to the Commissioner for approval. Upon approval of the assessments, ORPTS establishes any transition assessments pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 545 or aggregate additional assessments for certain Adirondack Park parcels pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 542 and for River Regulating District parcels pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law Section 15-2115.
     
  2. Certification of Assessments
    Following approval by the Commissioner, a certificate and "List of the Approved Assessments" are sent to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services.
     
  3. Reporting of Assessments and the Certification of Transition Assessments to the Office of the State Comptroller
    After approval of assessments by the Commissioner and the establishment of any aggregate additional assessments or transition assessments, a summary by taxing unit and law section for each assessing unit and the certification of any transition assessments are sent to the Office of the State Comptroller.
     
  4. Reporting of Assessments to River Regulating Districts A copy of the "List of Approved Assessments" which includes any aggregate additional assessments established for River Regulating District parcels is sent to the district office responsible for the payment of taxes.
     
  5. Adjusting of Assessments Due to the Establishment of a Special Equalization Rate
    Where the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll was used to determine the assessments, the ORPTS will adjust assessments affected by the determination of a special State equalization rate for the purpose of equalizing State land assessments. This special State equalization rate is established where there has been a change in level of assessment of 2 percent or more since the establishment of the State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll.
     
  6. Rescinding of Assessments, Aggregate Additional Assessments and Transition Assessments
    1. ORPTS may rescind assessments, aggregate additional assessments and transition assessments and approve revised assessments at any time prior to the payment of taxes by the State Comptroller where the designation for town outside village, village, school district or special district is omitted or incorrect.
    2. ORPTS may rescind assessments, aggregate additional assessments and transition assessments and approve revised assessments at any time prior to the annexation of the warrant for the collection of any tax to be imposed upon those assessments where:
      1. There has been a clerical error, an error in essential fact, an omission or an unlawful entry as those terms are defined in section 550 of the Real Property Tax Law; or
      2. A special State equalization rate is established for the current assessment roll; or
      3. The special State equalization rate for the current assessment roll is rescinded, and if necessary, re-established; or
      4. The State equalization rate for the prior assessment roll is rescinded and re-established;
         
    3. ORPTS may rescind transition assessments and aggregate additional assessments and approve revised assessments at any time prior to the annexation of the last warrant for the collection of any tax to be imposed upon these assessments for assessing units where a uniform percentage of value was used to determine assessments and subsequently a change in level of assessment greater than 2 percent was determined on the current assessment roll.

3. Grievance Procedures

  1. Preliminary Review and Screening Process
    Office staff compares the assessor's reported full value against an ORPTS estimated full value. Town aggregate totals, percentage differences, overall increases from prior year values and pending litigation information are also reviewed. A reasonable value tolerance is allowed between ORPTS's estimated full value and the assessor's submitted full value for appraisal differences. When the assessor's value exceeds the staff estimate by more than this tolerance, the parcel is noted as a potential overvaluation.
     
  2. If the assessor has submitted the list on time, staff will, in many instances, attempt to contact the assessor and discuss value discrepancies. As a result of these discussions, many discrepancies are resolved prior to administrative review of assessments. Information is exchanged which may lead to value changes by either party. All value discrepancies flagged during this process are reviewed individually by staff. The magnitude of the difference, the number of parcels involved, the acreage, tax impact and the type of property are all considerations which are weighed before a final decision to file a grievance is made. Any adjustments made are reflected on a revised list and agreed to by the assessor before the values and assessments are submitted to the Commissioner for approval.
     
  3. Preliminary Board of Assessment Review Actions
    After tentative roll date, any remaining significant discrepancies identified as a result of the screening process require that complaints be filed with local Boards of Assessment Review. Complaints may be filed where the assessors failed to submit assessments for Commissioner approval within 20 days prior to filing a tentative assessment roll. Such complaints are necessary to protect the State's right to administrative or legal remedy in the event that it is determined that the parcel assessments should be challenged when the lists are finally received. Complaints can be filed based upon the conclusion by Office staff that the assessments were either unequal, excessive, unlawful, non-uniform or a combination of the four. Following the action by the Board of Assessment Review, judicial review proceedings may be commenced.

    An unequal assessment complaint means that, in opinion of Office staff, State owned land is not being valued commensurate with privately owned lands as required by Section 542(1) of the Real Property Tax Law.

D. Acquisition of Conservation Easements

  1. Reporting of an Acquisition by the State Entity Acquiring the Conservation Easement

    A conservation easement is an easement, covenant, restriction or other interest in real property created pursuant to Title 3 Article 49 of the Environmental Conservation Law which limits or restricts development, management or use of real property for the purpose of preserving or maintaining the scenic, open, historic, archeological, architectural or natural condition, character, significance, or amenities of real property. When a conservation easement is acquired by the State, the acquiring entity must notify ORPTS within 90 days and provide the following information:

    1. city, town or village in which the real property is located;
    2. purpose of and statutory authority for the acquisition;
    3. whether the acquisition is to be used in conjunction with other lands already owned by the State;
    4. a copy of the transfer and the liber and page of recording;
    5. four copies of any available maps; (where the easement is acquired on part of a parcel on the assessment roll, the map should denote the location of the easement)
    6. date and method of vesting title;
    7. any available appraisals of the acquisition;
    8. a description of any improvements on the land;
    9. a listing of the parcels burdened by the easement as they appear on the assessment roll, including the tax map number or other local roll identification and the acreage of the parcels and the easements; and
    10. the certified allocation factors.
       
  2. Determination of the Taxable Status of the Conservation Easement Acquired by the State
    Shortly after notification of the acquisition from the acquiring entity, Counsel makes a determination of the taxable status of the conservation easement acquired. The easement is deemed taxable pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 533 or not taxable pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 404. (Refer to Part B. 2. of this section)
     
  3. Notice to Local Officials of the Acquisition of a Conservation Easement, Request for Information and Certification of the Allocation Factors
     
    Shortly after Office staff has determined the taxable status of the easement, a copy of the deed and map and a "Notice of Determination of New York's Liability for Taxation" are sent to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. The notice indicates the assessment roll on which the State's tax liability is in effect for each taxing unit.

    1. tax map number or other local roll identification;
    2. school district names and codes;
    3. ad valorem special district names and codes;
    4. the full value as of the valuation date of the assessment roll;
    5. the total assessed value before the subtraction of any exemption amount and the land value;
    6. any exemption amount and the exemption code;
    7. for acquisitions after taxable status date and before tax lien date, the taxable assessed value by taxing unit;
    8. for acquisitions before taxable status date, further information may be requested at this time or as part of the annual assessment approval process. (Refer to Part E. 1. of this section)
       
  4. The certification of the allocation factor for the easement is also sent to local officials. The Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (ENCON) determines an allocation factor which is certified to ORPTS and the fee owner. ORPTS certifies the allocation factor to the assessor, chief fiscal officer of the county and the Office of the State Comptroller.
  5. The allocation factor is the portion of the value of a parcel which a conservation or common law easement represents expressed as a percentage. The allocation factor pertains to the land burdened by the easement and does not apply to any existing improvements or any improvements subsequently erected unless the acquiring agency notifies ORPTS that the allocation factor does apply to the improvements. For conservation easements, the allocation factor remains in effect for a period of ten years from the date of acquisition. For common law easements, the allocation factor remains in effect for a period of ten years from the date the factor was first determined. At the end of the ten year period, ORPTS may revise the allocation factor. In the first year in which the allocation factor is recomputed, if it differs from the allocation factor previously determined by the Commissioner of ENCON, it will be averaged with the previous allocation factor. In subsequent years, the allocation factor recomputed by ORPTS is used.
     
  6. Tax Map and Assessment Roll Entries for Newly Acquired and Existing Easements

    Where a taxable conservation or common law easement encumbers part of a parcel on the assessment roll, that part should appear as a separate parcel on the assessment roll and tax map as of the next taxable status date after the receipt of the determination of the taxable status by ORPTS. The aggregate of the assessment of both parcels should not exceed the total valuation of the property were the property assessed as one parcel.

  7.  
  8. Payment of Taxes for Conservation Easements Acquired After Taxable Status Date and Before Lien Date

    For taxable conservation easements acquired after taxable status date, where real property taxes become liens after title is vested in the State or where the taxable status of the easement is determined by ORPTS subsequent to taxable status date, the State is responsible for direct payment to the municipality of a proportionate share of those taxes. The allocation factor used to determine this share is certified to the assessor, the chief fiscal officer of the county and the Office of the State Comptroller. The State's proportionate share is determined by multiplying the tax dollar amount on the tax bill by the certified allocation factor. Upon request by the owner of the property burdened by the easement and upon receipt of a copy of the appropriate tax bills, a statement of the proportionate share of taxes due by the State and the owner will be computed and forwarded to the owner, assessor, chief fiscal officer of the county, Director of Real Property Tax Services, the Office of the State Comptroller and the appropriate tax collector.
    To obtain payment for the State's share of the taxes due, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit a statement of the taxes due and a copy of the certificate of the allocation factor to the Office of the State Comptroller.
    A collecting officer is authorized to accept from the fee owner of the parcel burdened by the easement, the taxes due after deducting these taxes for which the State is liable. The owner must present the certificate of the allocation factor.

    Where the owner of a parcel burdened by a conservation easement has paid taxes based upon the assessment of the parcel without consideration of the easement, the owner is entitled to a refund equal to any taxes paid by the State for the easement.

E. Annual Assessment Approval Process - Conservation and Common Law Easements

1. List Preparation and Completion
The following events are included in the annual assessment approval process for taxable conservation and common law easements:

  1. Transmitting the List
    Refer to Part C. 1. of this section.
     
  2. Instructions for the Completion of the List for State Land Taxable Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law 533.

    1. For each easement on the list, the assessor should enter the following information:

    1. full value of the parcel encumbered by the easement;
    2. total assessed value of the parcel encumbered by the easement;
    3. for parcels with improvements to which the allocation factor does not apply, the total land assessed value of the parcel encumbered by the easement;
    4. for parcels where the easement encumbers the improvement only, the total improvement assessed value of the parcel;
    5. taxable assessed value of the easement; this amount is determined by multiplying the total assessed value reported above by the allocation factor listed for the parcel. (Refer to the chart below.)

     2. Determination of the Taxable Assessed Value of the Easement

    Where the Conservation Easement Encumbers Parcel assessed value to which the allocation factor is applied
    Vacant land Total assessed value
    Land and all improvements Total assessed value
    Land only on a parcel with improvements Total land assessed value
    Improvements only Total improvement assessed value

    3. The assessor should review the following information and indicate any changes:

    1. local roll identification and owner's name;
    2. school district name and code;
    3. ad valorem special district names and codes; and
    4. acreage.

    4.  The completed list should be returned to ORPTS no later than 20 days prior to the date provided for by law for filing of the tentative assessment roll. Where the list for an assessing unit is not received in a timely manner, ORPTS may file a complaint with the appropriate Board of assessment Review in order to protect the State's rights to administrative and judicial review of the assessments.
     

  3. Returning Incorrect Lists to the Assessor If the tentative assessment submitted for an easement is not the product of the assessed value as detailed in Item b (1), above, times the allocation factor, the list of tentative easement assessments will be returned to the assessor for corrections or staff may attempt to contact the assessor to resolve the error(s), requesting the submission of a written statement correcting the error(s). Filing an incorrect list carries the same consequences as failure to file a list (see Item b, (3),above).  

2.  Assessment Approval

  1. Approval of Assessments
    Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 542, ORPTS submits assessments for taxable conservation and common law easements to the Commissioner for approval.
     
  2. Certification of Assessments
    Following approval by the Commissioner, a certificate and "List of Approved Assessments for Conservation and Common Law Easements" are sent to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. A summary by taxing unit for each assessing unit is sent to the Office of the State Comptroller.
     
  3. Rescinding of Assessments
    1. ORPTS may rescind approved assessments and approve revised assessments at any time prior to the payment of taxes by the State Comptroller where:
      1. there has been a clerical error, an error in essential fact, an omission or an unlawful entry as these items are defined in Section 550 of the Real Property Tax Law; or 
      2. the assessed value of the parcel encumbered by the easement has changed since the submission of the preliminary list; or 
      3. where the designation for town-outside-village, village, school district or special district is omitted or incorrect. 

3. Administratrative and Judicial Review 

  1. State Proceedings
    The State is a person aggrieved by the assessment of a parcel burdened by a taxable conservation or common law easement for purposes of seeking administrative and/or judicial review of those assessments. The State may seek judicial review within two years of the acquisition of a conservation easement and for a common law easement, within two years of the date when the easement became subject to taxation. The State need not seek administrative review prior to seeking judicial review.

    Where the State commences administrative or judicial review proceedings, a copy of the complaint or petition shall be sent to the owner of the burdened parcel within 10 days of the filing of a complaint or the service of the petition.
      
  2. Owner Proceedings
    Where the owner of the parcel seeks administrative review of the assessment on the parcel encumbered by a taxable conservation or common law easement and the Board of Assessment Review changes the assessment of the parcel, the assessor should notify ORPTS within five business days after the receipt of such notice from the Board of Assessment Review.

    Where the owner of the parcel seeks judicial review of the assessment on a parcel encumbered by a taxable conservation or common law easement, the assessor shall notify ORPTS of any change in assessment within five business days after the receipt of such change.

4. Correction of Errors
Where the assessed value of a parcel burdened by a taxable conservation or common law easement is changed pursuant to Article 5, title 3 of the Real Property Tax Law, the assessor shall notify ORPTS within five business days of the change.

F. Annual Assessment Approval Process - Transition Assessments

1. Taxable State Land

  1. Establishment of a Transition Assessment
      
    Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 545, a transition assessment is established when there is a reduction in assessments on taxable State lands from the prior assessment roll to the current assessment roll for a taxing unit. Changes in an assessing unit's level of assessment are considered in the determination of a reduction in assessments. The transition assessment is equal to the amount of the reduction, rounded to the nearest $10. A transition assessment will not be established if the reduction is under $50. In succeeding years, a transition assessment established for a taxing unit is reduced by two percent of the total taxable assessed value of all property of the taxing unit on the prior assessment roll. Adjustments are made for any change in level of assessment which has occurred since the establishment of the transition assessment.
     
  2. Reporting of a Transition Assessment to Local Officials and Certification to the Office of the State Comptroller 
     
    Shortly after ORPTS establishes a transition assessment for taxable State land, ORPTS sends a certificate and a "List of Approved Assessments" which includes any transition assessment to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. The transition assessment should be entered on the assessment roll and treated as a taxable assessed value. ORPTS also certifies the transition assessment to the Office of the State Comptroller.
     
  3. Payment of Taxes Levied on a Transition Assessment
     
    Upon receipt by local officials of the "List of Approved Assessments" referred to above, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit any tax bills for transition assessments to the Office of the State Comptroller.

2. Exempt State Land

  1. Application for and Establishment of a Transition Assessment
    Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 545, a transition assessment is established when the State acquires land which becomes exempt as a result of the acquisition and constitutes two percent or more of the total taxable assessed value for any taxing unit on the latest preceding assessment roll filed prior to the acquisition. For the first assessment roll affected, a tax district should submit a written request to ORPTS applying for a transition assessment.
     
  2. To determine if a taxing unit qualifies for a transition assessment, the assessed value of the acquisitions from the second assessment roll preceding the assessment roll affected by the acquisition must constitute 2 percent or more of the total taxable assessed value for any taxing unit on the assessment roll filed prior to the assessment roll on which the property was determined to be exempt from taxation by Counsel. If this criteria is met, the transition assessment established is equal to the prior assessment roll taxable assessed value of the property acquired adjusted for the change in level of assessment on the current roll where it is 2 percent or more. The transition assessment is rounded to the nearest $10 and is not established if the amount is under $50.
     
    In succeeding years, the transition assessment established for a taxing unit is reduced by 2 percent of the total taxable assessed value of all property of the taxing unit on the prior assessment roll. Adjustments are made for any change in level of assessment which has occurred since the establishment of the transition assessment.
     
  3. Reporting of a Transition Assessment to Local Officials and Certification to the Office of the State Comptroller
     
    Shortly after ORPTS establishes a transition assessment for exempt State land, ORPTS sends a certificate and a "List of Approved Assessments" to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. The transition assessment should be entered on the assessment roll and treated as a taxable assessed value. ORPTS certifies the transition assessment to the Office of the State Comptroller.
     
  4. Payment of Taxes Levied on a Transition Assessment
         
    Upon receipt by local officials of the "List of Approved Assessments" referred to above, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit any tax bills for transition assessments to the Office of the State Comptroller.

G. Annual Assessment Approval Process - Aggregate Additional Assessments

1. Adirondack Park (AP)

  1. Establishment of an Aggregate Additional Assessment for AP Parcels
     
    Pursuant to Property Tax Law Section 542, the total taxable assessed valuation of wild or forest State lands lying within the Adirondack Park as approved by ORPTS on the assessment roll filed in 1960 should not be reduced by approval of assessments by ORPTS on any subsequent assessment roll. The 1960 total taxable assessed value of these lands is adjusted by any change in level of assessment since the 1960 assessment roll. If the total taxable assessed value of those lands on the current assessment roll is less than the total taxable assessed value of those lands on the 1960 assessment roll adjusted for any subsequent change in level of assessment, ORPTS will establish an Adirondack Park Aggregate Additional Assessment equal to the difference, rounded to the nearest $10.
     
  2. Reporting of an Aggregate Additional Assessment for AP Parcels to Local Officials and the Office of the State Comptroller
     
    Shortly after ORPTS establishes an aggregate additional assessment for AP parcels, ORPTS sends a certificate and a "List of Approved Assessments", which includes any aggregate additional assessments for AP parcels, to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. This assessment should be entered on the assessment roll as a taxable assessed value. ORPTS also reports the amount of any aggregate additional assessment for AP parcels to the Office of the State Comptroller.
     
  3. Payment of Taxes Levied on an Aggregate Additional Assessment for AP Parcels.
    Upon receipt by the local officials of the "List of Approved Assessments" referred to above, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit the tax bills for any aggregate additional assessments for AP parcels to the Office of the State Comptroller.

2. River Regulating District (RRD)

  1. Establishment of an Aggregate Additional Assessment for RRD Parcels
     
    Pursuant to Section 15-2115 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the aggregate assessed valuation of any river regulating district lands in a town shall not be reduced below the aggregate assessed valuation at the time of their acquisition. The assessed value at acquisition of these lands is adjusted by a change in level of assessment since the acquisition. If the total taxable assessed value of those lands on the current assessment roll is less than the total taxable assessed value of those lands at acquisition adjusted for any subsequent change in level of assessment, ORPTS will establish a River Regulating District Aggregate Additional Assessment equal to the difference, rounded to the nearest $10.
     
  2. Reporting of an Aggregate Additional Assessment for RRD Parcels to Local Officials, the Office of the State Comptroller and the River Regulating District
     
    Shortly after ORPTS establishes an aggregate additional assessment for RRD parcels, ORPTS sends a certificate and "List of Approved Assessments", which includes any aggregate additional assessments for RRD parcels, to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. This assessment should be entered on the assessment roll and treated as a taxable assessed value. ORPTS also reports the amount of any aggregate additional assessment for RRD parcels to the Office of the State Comptroller and the appropriate River Regulating District.
     
  3. Payment of Taxes Levied on an Aggregate Additional Assessment for RRD Parcels
     
    Upon receipt of the "List of Approved Assessments" by local officials, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit the tax bills for any aggregate additional assessment for RRD parcels to the River Regulating District responsible for the payment of taxes.

H.  Supplemental Assessment Approval Process

  1. Supplemental Assessment Approval
     
    If notice of an acquisition is received prior to taxable status date for the assessment roll for which the State becomes responsible for taxes, and all the necessary processing is completed, the parcel will be included on the preliminary list of taxable State land which is mailed to the assessor shortly after taxable status date. Pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 542, a supplemental assessment will be approved by ORPTS, when the State acquires property which is deemed taxable and is not included on the preliminary list for the first assessment roll affected by the acquisition. The assessment on the final assessment roll filed in the year in which the land was acquired by the State is the supplemental assessment. This assessment must be approved by the Commissioner within two years of the filing of the first tentative assessment roll affected by the acquisition.
      
  2. Reporting of a Supplemental Assessment to Local Officials and the Office of the State Comptroller

    Shortly after approval by ORPTS, a certificate and a "List of Approved Supplemental Assessments" is sent to the appropriate assessor and Director of Real Property Tax Services. ORPTS also reports the supplemental assessment to the Office of the State Comptroller.
        
  3. Payment of Taxes Levied on a Supplemental Assessment
     
    Upon receipt of the "List of Approved Supplemental Assessments" by the local officials, the chief fiscal officer of the county should submit any tax bills for supplemental assessments to the Office of the State Comptroller.

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Updated: October 22, 2013