Opinion 98 - 4
COUNTIES -- Powers and Duties (delegation of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY AUDITOR -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY COMPTROLLER -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY TREASURER -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Correction of Errors (delegation of duties
in connection with)
At the outset, we note that it is the policy of this Office to render advisory legal opinions involving issues arising under the State Constitution and State statutes having general applicability to municipalities in this State. Accordingly, for purposes of this opinion, we will discuss only State statutes. You may wish to contact the county attorney's office with respect to determining the applicability of any county charter provisions.
Subdivision 9 of section 554 of the Real Property Tax Law, added by chapter 515 of the Laws of 1997, relates to the correction of errors on tax rolls. Subdivision 9 authorizes a tax levying body to delegate, by resolution, to "an official who is empowered to authorize payment of bills without prior audit by such body or, in the event there is no official so empowered, to an official responsible for the payment of bills upon audit of the appropriate municipal corporation so designated by it", the authority to perform the duties of such tax levying body provided for in that section. The duties of the tax levying body under section 554 include: examining applications for correction of errors and reviewing the written report of the county director of real property tax services summarizing his or her investigation of and recommendations regarding the applications; rejecting or approving the application; making an order setting forth the corrected taxes and directing the officer having jurisdiction of the tax roll to correct such roll; transmitting the order and all applications which have been approved to such officer; mailing notices of approval or rejected applications to the applicants; and filing copies of all applications with the records of the tax levying body. The resolution is effective only during the calendar year in which it is adopted and must designate that the delegation is applicable only when the recommended correction is $2,500 or less, or such other sum not to exceed $2,500.
If the recommended correction does not exceed the amount specified in the resolution, the
county director of real property tax services must transmit the written report of the investigation
and recommendation, together with copies of the application, to the designated official. Upon
receipt of the written report, the designated official must follow the procedure which the tax
levying body would follow in making the correction. If the designated official denies the
application, in whole or in part, he or she must transmit to the tax levying body for its review and
disposition pursuant to section 554(5) the written report of the investigation and recommendation
of the county director, together with the copies of the application and the reasons that the
designated official denied the correction. If the recommendation of the county director is to deny
the application or if the correction requested is an amount in excess of the amount authorized in
the resolution, the county director must transmit the written report of the investigation and
recommendation, together with the copies of the application, to the tax levying body. The
designated official must, on or before the fifteenth day of each month, submit a report to the tax
levying body listing corrections processed within the preceding month and indicating the name of
each recipient, the location of the property and the amount of the correction.
1. In support of this conclusion, we note that the delegation provision of section 554(9) tracks the language of Real Property Tax Law, §556(8), relative to the delegation of responsibilities in connection with administrative tax refunds. Section 556(8) was added by chapter 383 of the Laws of 1984. The legislative history of this measure indicates that section 556(8) was intended to permit delegation to a county comptroller or county auditor (see Memoranda to Governor's Counsel, L 1984, ch 383, from the State Board of Equalization and Assessment, July 6, 1994, and from Member of the Assembly Robach, July 17, 1984).