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Volume 5 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 113

Opinions of Counsel index

Correction of errors (final assessment roll) (procedure); (tax roll) (procedure) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 553, 554:

An assessor’s petition to increase an assessment will be considered up to the date of extension of taxes. Due process considerations preclude consideration of such application after extension since there is no administrative hearing after levy at which the taxpayer might raise objections to the request for an increased assessment.

Between the date of extension and the expiration of the warrant for collection, a taxpayer may make application to the county director of real property tax services for the correction of clerical errors and certain unlawful entries on tax rolls. This includes correction of such an error which would cause an increase in his assessment as well as one which would cause a decrease.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the applicability of the so-called “Correction of Errors” law to a partial exemption. The question is whether a county director of real property tax services was correct in refusing to consider an application made by the assessor for an increased assessment.

An assessor’s petition to increase an assessment will not be considered subsequent to the date of extension of taxes; subsequent to the filing of the final assessment roll but prior to the extension of taxes thereon such a petition is authorized by Real Property Tax Law, section 553, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), upon notice to the taxpayer (Real Property Tax Law, § 553(2)(a)).

After the extension, however, due process considerations preclude consideration of such application; that is, since there is no administrative hearing after the extension at which the taxpayer might raise objections to the request for an increased assessment, the statute does not authorize the assessor to take unilateral action, even if it is the taxpayer himself who wishes his assessment increased.

Pursuant to section 554 of the Real Property Tax Law, between the date of the extension and the expiration of the warrant for collection, a taxpayer may make application to the county director for the correction of clerical errors and certain unlawful entries on tax rolls. There is nothing in that section of the law suggesting that a taxpayer may not seek correction of such an error which would cause an increase in assessment, although clearly the more common occurrence would be one where a petition is presented for a decreased assessment.

Therefore, if the taxpayer in question presents a petition for a correction of a clerical error, prior to the expiration of the warrant for collection, the county director must act upon his request in accordance with section 554.

January 26, 1977

Updated: