Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 36
Railroad property exemption (ceiling) (scope - application requirement) - Real Property Tax Law, § 489-t; 9 NYCRR Part 200:
After March 31, 1983, the Railroad Ceiling Law applies to any railroad company owning railroad real property without any “election” or other further action by the company.
We have been asked whether railroad real property is automatically subject to the provisions of Title 2-A or Title 2-B of Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law (“Railroad Ceiling Law”), or whether the owner of such property must “elect” status of a ceiling railroad pursuant to section 489-t.
As originally enacted (L.1959, c.636), companies wishing to have this law apply to their railroad real property were obliged to file an election with the State Board (former Tax Law, §19-a, renumbered §19-b). Following the codification of the Real Property Tax Law, this section was repealed and reenacted as section 489-v (L.1963, c.86). The election requirement was eliminated in 1977 with the repeal of section 489-v (L.1977, c.920, §9).
In 1978, the Legislature added section 489-t thereby restoring the election requirement (L.1978, c.393, §1). However, this section contained an expiration date of March 31, 1983. Since the substance of section 489-t has not been extended past this date by the Legislature, ceiling assessments are now mandated for all railroads, subject to whatever other limitations are included within the Railroad Ceiling Law. Accordingly, after March 31, 1983, the Railroad Ceiling Law applies to any railroad company owning railroad real property (as those terms are defined in section 489-b and section 489-bb) without any further action by the company.
January 3, 1984