On December 9, 2022, changes to the New York State Real Property Tax Law were made giving a governing body the option of adopting legislation creating a tax exemption for real property owned by enrolled members (and their spouses) of incorporated volunteer fire or ambulance companies or departments in any county. The governing body, which includes counties, towns, villages, or school districts, must have a public hearing before adopting such legislation.
Where a school district adopts a resolution following a public hearing, taxpayers who are enrolled members would be exempt from taxation for up to ten percent of the assessed value of the property owned by the enrolled member for school district purposes. To be eligible, the taxpayer must reside in the municipality served by the volunteer fire or ambulance company in which they are enrolled and be certified by the school district as an enrolled member meeting service requirements. Such district must establish a certification procedure and a minimum service requirement (between two and five years) for eligibility. The property for which the exemption shall apply must be the primary residence of the enrolled member and must be used exclusively for residential purposes.
Certified enrolled members with over twenty years of active service can receive the exemption for the rest of their life, provided that their primary residence remains located in the school district where the exemption was adopted.
There are other considerations and options under the law pertaining to the continuation or reinstatement of the exemption for an un-remarried spouse of an enrolled member killed in the line of duty. The un-remarried spouse must be certified, and the enrolled member must have been enrolled for at least five years. Where a deceased enrolled member was not killed in the line of duty but was enrolled for at least twenty years, their spouse may continue to receive the exemption if their primary residence remains in the school district.
The school district must designate the office for filing applications. Such applications must be filed on or before the taxable status date. Where a school district is already providing a similar benefit, it must conform such benefit to the provisions of the new RPTL § 466-a within three years.
As always, Honeywell Law Firm is available to answer any questions and provide further information and guidance. Please contact our office at (518) 512-4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.