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New York Solar Property Tax Exemption

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Are solar panels exempt from property taxes in New York state?

Yes! In most areas of New York state, solar panels that are installed on a roof are exempt from property taxes.

What areas of New York state allow this exemption?

The exemption is available statewide, and each county, city, town, village and school district (except those in New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers) can determine whether to allow the exemptions or not. In some cases, the exemption may be allowed in the county, for example but not in a particular town within that county. This means that residents of that town will still have to pay for the increase in their town taxes, but will be exempt from any increase in their county or school district taxes.

In order to disallow the exemption, a local law must be passed or, in school districts, a resolution must be adopted.

The New York Department of Taxation has listed the municipalities which have opted out of the property tax exemption – all other municipalities in New York that are not listed here should allow the exemption.

Is the exemption applicable for residential solar photovoltaic systems?

Yes, the exemption is available for standard residential solar systems installed on a home’s roof. The installation must meet the following criteria:

  • System must face within 30 degrees of due south with newly built buildings and must face within 45 degrees of due south on an existing building
  • Panels must be installed on at least a 25 degree angle from the ground
  • System must produce more than 250 watts of electricity during it’s peak production – which all residential solar systems will achieve

Nassau County Solar Property Tax Exemption Eligibility

If you live in Nassau County on Long Island, you are eligible for the NYS property tax exemption on your county, city and school taxes. To apply, the application must be filed with the Nassau County Board of Assessors.

Tompkins County Solar Property Tax Exemption Eligibility

Originally, Tompkins County did not allow residents to receive the exemption, however this law has since been overturned. If you live in Tompkins County, you are eligible for the exemption from all property taxes, except:

If you live in Lansing or Enfield, you are not eligible for an exemption from your town taxes.

If you live in the Ithaca City School district you are not eligible for an exemption from your Ithaca City School District taxes.

To apply, you must submit your application with the Tompkins County Division of Assessment by mail (128 E. Buffalo Street, Ithaca, N.Y. 14850) or via email (assessement@tompkins-co.org).

What is a Property Tax Exemption?

The amount paid in property taxes depends on the value of your home and property. This is determined by a property assessor, and generally is done annually. When you add any improvements or things of value to your property, the total value of your property will increase.

When the total value of your property increases, you will have to pay higher property taxes based on that increase. For example, if you put an addition onto your house that increases the value of your home by $10,000 the next time the property assessor comes to assess your property for taxes, they will determine it has increased by $10,000 so you will be paying a higher percentage of taxes because you increased the overall value of your home.

If you have a property tax exemption for an upgrade on your home, that means that you will not have to pay any extra taxes on that upgrade. This incentivizes homeowners to make improvements on their homes, since they will be able to get a higher return on their investment should they decide to sell, and in the meantime they don’t need to pay more taxes for the improvements that they completed.

How can you determine the value of the exemption you will receive? If your system meets the criteria for the exemption, “Eligible solar electric systems should qualify for …. an amount equal to the assessed value of the entire system.”

To learn more, or to read the full report, check out the New York State Solar and Wind Energy Systems: Definitions and Guidelines for Property Tax Exemptions Report.

Why is the property tax exemption beneficial?

The property tax exemption for solar was created to encourage homeowners to install solar power. Solar energy systems increase the value of a home, therefore some homeowners are wary about getting solar power, because they don’t want their property taxes to increase.

How long does the exemption last?

In New York, the property tax exemption for solar power lasts for 15 years, however it’s not available everywhere. Each local government can decide whether they want to adopt the tax exemption.

How do I apply for my exemption?

You need to fill out an application for the exemption and file it with the city or town assessor that prepares the assessment roll for taxes in the area. If the property is also located within a village assessing unit, you will need to submit a separate application to the village assessor.

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