Volume 5 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 42
School districts (tax roll) (notice to non-residents) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1322:
Pursuant to section 1322 of the Real Property Tax Law, if the address of a non-resident property owner is known to the collecting officer or may be ascertained by such officer upon inquiry of the school authorities or clerk of the district, the non-resident is entitled to notice that school district taxes have been levied and are due, and such notice must be given at least twenty days prior to the expiration of the one-month period for payment of taxes without penalty. If such notice is not given, the non-resident property owner is not liable for penalties and interest by reason of his late payment of school taxes.
We have received an inquiry concerning the payment of school district taxes by a non-resident of the district. It is stated that the taxpayer owns two parcels of property located in two different counties. He pays the property tax levied for school district purposes in September in County A, but does not receive a tax bill for his County B property until the penalty-free period for payment of taxes has passed and he is required to pay an additional fee for late payment. The question is whether the taxpayer has the right to pay the County B tax in September or must wait and pay the penalty for late payment.
Real Property Tax Law, section 1322, provides that in school districts other than city school districts, a notice must be given either personally or by mail at least twenty days prior to the expiration of the one-month period for payment of taxes without penalty to “all non-resident taxpayers of the school district on such roll whose residence or address may be known to such collecting officer, or may be ascertained by him upon inquiry of the school authorities or clerk of the district.”
It would appear from this inquiry that the school district authorities in County B do have knowledge of the taxpayer’s correct address. If this is the case, under the Real Property Tax Law, he has the right to receive notice in the form of a tax bill at least twenty days prior to the expiration of the period for penalty-free payment of taxes. If such notice is not sent, in accordance with the holding of the Court of Appeals in the case of Saranac Land Company v. Roberts, 195 N.Y.303, 88 N.E. 753, any penalty or fee imposed would be illegal, and he would be entitled to a refund of any penalty or interest fees imposed.
November 5, 1975