Bill aimed at stopping property tax exemption abuses passes in NYS Legislature

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Assemblyman Sean Ryan will speak about a new bill designed to stop abuses of 485-a tax exemptions.

The bill, which has passed both houses of the New York State Legislature, would have to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo before it can become law.

It applies to the Real Property Tax Law. 485-a lets municipalities offer a 12-year exemption on property taxes to developers who renovate old buildings that include a mixture of commercial and residential space.

Ryan says some developers have abused this law, and a result, localities have granted exemptions to some projects that shouldn’t receive them.

This new bill (A-8091/S5254) outlines minimum requirements, reaffirms the original intent of the law and requires the performance of an annual re-certification.

Here are the specifics:

 Limit the types of commercial purposes and uses that can qualify for the exemption and require them to be publicly accessible.

  • Require at least 50 percent of a building be used for residential purposes and at least 15 percent of the building be used for commercial purposes exclusive of below-grade floor areas.
  • Disallow the exemption on land that was vacant prior to construction.
  • Require at least seventy-five percent of the floor area to consist of pre-existing building or structure.
  • Require the portion of the building used for commercial purposes to be currently used as such or in good faith contemplated.
  • Require an annual certification to the assessor attesting that the property complies with the eligibility requirements.
  • Require a revocation of benefits if the property is non-compliant; and impose penalties if a material misstatement is made on an application.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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