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Exemption Administration

What are property tax exemptions?
Exemptions are relief from taxation by providing a partial or full reduction on the amount of taxes owed for eligible properties. Unless a property is exempt in some capacity, all real property is subject to taxation in New York State. Whenever an exemption is granted, it reduces the assessed value of a property and gives that property a taxable value lower than the assessed value. If your property has no exemptions, then your assessed value is equal to your taxable value.

Which exemptions am I eligible for?
Most people won't qualify for any property tax exemptions. Commonly, exemptions are available to parcels owned by public entities: counties, towns, schools, etc. Since all real property is subject to taxation unless exempt, public entities receive exemptions to make them "Wholly Exempt" (taxable value of 0).

For privately owned property, partial exemptions are granted based upon:

  • How the property is used (e.g. Agricultural exemptions);
  • Membership in an exempt class (e.g. Veteran of foreign war);
  • Owner(s) income and ability to pay (e.g. Senior Exemption or Disability Exemption);
  • Desire of State/Local government to encourage economic or social growth and activity (e.g. Business Improvement or Solar/Wind Exemptions).
Are all exemptions available for application?

Initially, exemptions are created through the passage of Real Property Tax Law at the State level. Almost 400 have been created by the state with about 1,103 variations based on modifications by local governments. Most exemptions are mandatory, meaning local taxing jurisdictions must allow them, however many exemptions also come with the ability for municipalities to alter the exemption by passing what are known as "local options". These local options also generally will allow municipalities to opt-in or opt-out to either allow or deny exemptions within their district.

  • For Opt-in exemptions: municipality must pass a local law (school district must pass a resolution) to allow the exemption in their jurisdiction. Example: Disability with Limited Income Exemption.
  • For Opt-out exemptions: municipality must pass a local law (school district must pass a resolution) to not allow the exemption in their jurisdiction. Example: Solar/Wind Energy Exemption.
You can contact your assessor to find out which exemptions are available in your community and whether you meet the criteria to apply.