Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 98
Assessments, generally (inventory and valuation data) (village which uses town roll) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 501, 1402:
Village assessors must make available for review assessment inventory and valuation data, whether the village adopts the town assessment roll or prepares its own without regard to the town roll.
We are asked whether the provisions of section 501 are applicable to village assessors, even when a village adopts the town assessment roll. Section 501 requires the assessor to publish a notice stating that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for review by the taxpayers.
Section 1402 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that a village board of trustees may, by resolution, authorize the village assessor to use the assessment roll of the county or town for the current year as the basis for village assessments, so far as practicable. However, the utilization of the town roll does not relieve village assessors of their responsibilities. Village assessors are not bound by the valuations contained on the town assessment roll (4 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 39); rather, they are required to make independent determinations and adjustments to account for the condition, ownership and taxable status of property within the village as of taxable status date for the village (1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 51). In addition, the village must conduct administrative review hearings in regard to complaints on assessments, in accordance with the provisions of section 1408 of the Real Property Tax Law (4 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 39).
In light of these responsibilities, in our opinion the provisions of section 501 are applicable to village assessors, whether or not the village adopts the town assessment roll. The purpose of the notice required by section 501 is to advise property owners that the data on which their assessments are based are available for inspection. Inspection of the assessment records may result in a discovery of an error prior to the completion of the tentative assessment roll. Since village assessors are not bound by the valuations on the town assessment roll and are required to make independent determinations regarding the taxable status of property, the discovery of errors by taxpayers in the village assessment records would be beneficial to the village assessors. In addition, correction of obvious errors prior to the completion of the tentative village assessment roll could significantly decrease the number of complaints filed with the village board of review.
May 12, 1982