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Split Parcels/Tax Apportionment

Whenever a parcel of land is split or subdivided, whether by deed or survey, new lots will be created on the tax map and the next filed local assessment roll. In order for the new parcel(s) created by the split to receive their own tax bills they either need to:

  1. Be on the tax roll as a separately assessed parcel, -or-
  2. You need to request an apportionment of the assessment in order to split the bill on the original parcel.

#1 will only happen if the instrument (deed or map) was filed on or before March 1st. This date is known as taxable status date and the condition of the property as of this date (including its size and shape) is used for the assessment, valuation, and taxation of that parcel for the entire assessment year. The assessment year runs from July 1st of the year through June 30th of the following year.

Once the final assessment roll is filed on July 1st, all tax bills that come out afterwards (school, county/town, city, and village) will tax the parcels that existed on that July 1st roll, which in turn only contains parcels that existed on March 1st. This makes March 1st the deadline for all parcels changes including splits and merges.

If you purchased part of a parcel the first tax bill you can expect to receive is a school tax bill in the fall (October for Oswego School District, September for all other districts). If you do not receive a school bill you should begin investigating whether the part of parcel you purchased appeared on the final assessment roll -or- whether your mailing address was just entered incorrectly on the sale. 

If you find that the instrument that sold or subdivided only part of a parcel was filed after March 1st then #2 from above will apply. You need to contact your local assessor and request from him or her an apportionment of the parent parcel that exists on the July 1st final roll. Your assessor will provide a form that divides the parent parcel's final assessed value amongst any and all new parcels that were created out of it. This apportioned value can then be used by local school, town, city, or village tax collectors to divide up the parent parcel's tax bill amount amongst the new parcels. This apportionment process is not done automatically depending on the local municipality and must usually be requested by one of the parties involved.

Why was my parcel split?
A parcel is split on the tax map and assessment roll whenever a deed or other legal instrument is filed with the County Clerk's office and the description of that parcel describes less than what is currently on the tax map. The new parcel described in that deed will be split out and assessed to the new owner named in the deed and the remainder of the parcel (the portion not described or excepted from the deed) will be assessed to the original owner.

A parcel will also be split into new lots when a survey map is filed that depicts individual lots or sites. These new parcels will be assessed to the owners of the original whole parcel until sold.

My property was sold before March 1st, why was it not split and separately assessed on my town's final assessment roll?
First, check if the deed was filed on or before March 1st. Sometimes the closing for a sale may occur before March 1st, but the actual deed describing that transaction is not filed until after March 1st. Splits are processed based on the filed date, not the date of sale, since there is no statutory period that defines when deeds need to be filed in New York and the deed could be filed months or even years after the sale.

If your deed was filed before March 1st, but the parcel was not split, you should contact our office to inquire as to why the split did not occur.

Why are tax bill apportionments not done automatically?
The legal statute that governs apportionments is described in sections 932 and 1104 of real property tax law. The law states that the collecting officer (tax collector) can only receive tax on part of the tax bill if the "person offering to pay such tax" has acquired an apportionment of the assessment from the local assessor, who provides that apportionment after "due notice to the parties affected." Oftentimes the buyer and seller, individually or via their attorneys or lending institutions, will come to an agreement on who will pay what portion of future tax bills. This renders the assessment apportionment process irrelevant.

I sold all of my land to multiple new owners and then received a bill for the entire parcel that I sold, what should I do with this bill?
The worst thing you could do is ignore the tax bill. Under real property tax law the subject of assessment and taxation is the land itself, not the owner, so if the bill goes unpaid the entire parcel (including all the lots you just sold) could be foreclosed on and sold at a future tax auction. Don't assume that the tax bill has already been apportioned out to the new owners. If you did not have an existing agreement at the closing (check with your attorney if you're unsure of this) then you should first start by contacting your local assessor or tax collector and inquiring as to whether an apportionment of this tax bill is in process and if not you should request one so the new owners get their own tax bill.