Town of Chateaugay - Real Property Tax Exemption Administration (2018M-200)

Issued Date
May 17, 2019

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Town Assessor properly administered select real property tax exemptions.

Key Findings

  • Of the 224 granted exemptions that we reviewed totaling approximately $6.2 million of assessed value, 136 exemptions (61 percent), valued at approximately $3.8 million in assessed value, lacked one or more pieces of supporting documentation to verify their eligibility and/or were incorrectly granted.
  • One property owner did not meet the eligibility requirements to receive agricultural building exemptions. As a result, the property owner incorrectly received $15,231 in tax reductions.
  • Agricultural building exemptions that were granted for the construction of two buildings were not supported. As a result, the property owner may have incorrectly received $80,126 in tax reductions.
  • The Assessor did not have any documentation on file for four properties receiving eligible funds exemptions or four additional properties receiving senior citizens exemptions. As a result, the owners may have incorrectly received $2,551 in tax reductions.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure all applicants provide adequate supporting documentation before granting exemptions.
  • Maintain documentation to support eligibility for all exemptions.
  • Consult the Town’s attorney as to whether any of the amounts can be recovered and the potential legal and financial impacts the Town may face from prior years’ possible erroneous exemptions.

Except as specified in Appendix B, Town officials generally agreed with our recommendations and indicated they planned to take corrective action. Appendix C includes our comments on issues raised in the Town’s response letter.