Opinion 98 - 11


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Interest and Penalties (where last day of interest-free period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday)

REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW, §§925, 925-a; GENERAL CONSTRUCTION LAW, §25-a: When the last day of the penalty-free period for the payment of real property taxes falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the penalty-free period is automatically extended to the next business day and a real property tax payment received in an envelope postmarked on that next business day, and otherwise meeting the requirements of Real Property Tax Law, §925, is considered timely.

You ask whether a real property tax payment postmarked on the day after the last day for the payment of taxes without penalty is timely, when the last day of the penalty-free period is a Sunday. For purposes of this opinion, we have assumed this issue is governed by general State statutes and not by any special or local law.

Real Property Tax Law, §925 relates to real property tax payments made by mail and provides that, notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, if a real property tax payment, accompanied by the statement of such taxes, is enclosed in a properly addressed postpaid wrapper and is deposited in a post office or official depositary under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Post Office, the payment, upon delivery, is deemed to have been made on the date of the United States postmark on the wrapper. Thus, a tax payment which is received after the penalty-free period (see Real Property Tax Law, §§924, 924-a), but is postmarked before the end of that period and otherwise meets the requirements of section 925, is considered timely. As a general rule, a payment in an envelope with a postmark dated after the penalty-free period is not considered timely under Real Property Tax Law, §925 (see, e.g., 1981 Opns St Comp No. 81-264, p 284; cf. 1982 Opns St Comp No. 82-39, p 50; 1988 Opns St Comp No. 88-61, p 121, discussing whether certified and registered mail receipts, and certificates of mailing can be used to prove timely payment).

Section 925, however, must be read together with Real Property Tax Law, §925-a. Section 925-a provides that, notwithstanding any other law, if the final date for collection of taxes without penalty, or for the collection of taxes at a lesser penalty falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, an extension for the collection of taxes is automatically in effect until the first business day following such date, and the date for paying taxes is extended to the following date (see also General Construction Law, §25-a). Thus, in the circumstances here, pursuant to section 925-a, the penalty-free period would be automatically extended from Sunday to the next business day. Consequently, an envelope postmarked on that next business day is deemed to have been on that date and is, therefore, timely under section 925 (see, e.g., 1980 Opns St Comp No. 80-346, p 102).

Accordingly, when the last day of the penalty-free period for the payment of real property taxes falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the penalty-free period is automatically extended to the next business day and a real property tax payment received in an envelope postmarked on that next business day, and otherwise meeting the requirements of Real Property Tax Law, §925, is considered timely.

July 2, 1998
Michael A. Genito, City Comptroller
City of Rye