Real Property Tax Exemptions Administration (2017-MR-4)

Issued Date
April 13, 2018

[read complete report]

We also issued 10 letter reports to the following Towns: Callicoon, Carlisle, Chenango, Cherry Valley, Coventry, Davenport, Greene, Lisle, Meredith, and Springfield.

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether town assessors were properly administering select real property tax exemptions for the period January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.


All real property in New York is subject to taxation unless specific legal provisions grant it exempt status. Real property tax exemptions are granted on the basis of many different criteria, including the use to which the property is put, the owner's ability to pay taxes, the desire of the State and local governments to encourage certain economic or social activities and other such considerations. Assessors are responsible for granting and tracking real property tax exemptions within the local government’s boundaries. We examined the administration of the Agricultural, Persons 65 Years of Age or Older (Senior Citizens) and Veterans exemptions in 10 towns.

Key Findings

  • Assessors granted exemptions that lacked applications, renewal forms or supporting documentation.
  • Assessors misclassified or failed to grant supported exemptions.
  • Assessors incorrectly calculated exemptions granted, some of which included town-wide errors.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure all applicants provide adequate supporting documentation before granting exemptions.
  • Correctly apply statutory provisions to granted exemptions and consult with the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services or applicable County Real Property Tax Services Office, as necessary, for any technical assistance.