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Department of Taxation and Finance

Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 9

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessments, generally (cooperative assessment agreement) (rescheduled board of assessment review hearing date) - General Municipal Law, Article 5-G, § 119-n; Real Property Tax Law, § 576:

There is no authority for an assessing unit to reschedule the hearing date of its board of assessment review absent a cooperative assessing agreement.

An individual has been appointed to the office of assessor in two towns. The boards of assessment review in these municipalities have traditionally adjourned their hearings to review tentative assessments, commonly referred to as grievance day hearings, to another date agreed upon by the assessor, presumably to enable the assessor to attend both boards’ hearings. We are asked whether this procedure is legal and what action the municipalities may take to ensure compliance with the law.

Subdivision (1) of section 576 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that a person may be appointed to and hold the office of assessor in more than one city, town or village pursuant to a municipal cooperative agreement entered into in accordance with Article 5-G of the General Municipal Law. Subdivision (3) of section 576 provides that when a person is assessor of more than one city, town or village, the local legislative body of any of the participating assessing units may enact a local law to reschedule the dates for the filing of the tentative assessment roll and the hearing of complaints by the board of assessment review. A copy of such local law must be filed with the State Board.

Section 576(3) is the only authorization for assessing units subject to the assessment calendar in the RPTL to reschedule fiscal dates. Generally, all assessing units are subject to the assessment calendar specified in the RPTL (except for cities which may provide otherwise in city charters or towns in counties with county tax acts (e.g., Westchester County)). In our opinion, therefore, absent a cooperative assessment agreement, there is no authority for an assessing unit to reschedule grievance day. The municipalities in question should enter into a cooperative agreement if they wish to do so (General Municipal Law, Article 5-G).

April 22, 1988 

NOTE: Chapter 609 of the Laws of 1992 repealed subdivision 3 of section 576 of the RPTL. A cooperative agreement is no longer necessary as a prerequisite to change the board of assessment review’s hearing date. An assessing unit may now reschedule the hearing of its board of assessment review if its assessor also serves as assessor in another assessing unit (RPTL, § 512(1-a)).