You are here

Real Property Taxation/Assessment Systems

NOTE:  Some municipalities in the state use automated systems to keep track of various functions of their offices regarding taxation and assessment.  These systems, which we are referring to generically as "Real Property Taxation/Assessment Systems," contain information in such areas as valuation, basic property information, comparable sales, grievances, and tax collection.  In general, these systems do not replace existing hard copy-based systems, but do create some of the forms and other paper records in these files.  In addition, these systems contain data files and other electronic records not found in manual systems.  The items below are meant to cover not only electronic records contained in these automated systems, but also maps, reports and other system output maintained in both traditional hard copy and electronic format as well.

More importantly, these systems often contain summary information on specific parcels of real property, including improvements located on them.  The taxation/assessment history data file, listed below, may contain retrospective information on ownership, sales, land use, property characteristics and structures for a single for parcel of property over a period of time.

These systems include the "RPS" system developed by the New York State Office of Real Property Services (ORPS), as well as locally-developed and commercially-obtained systems, some of which take the place of the RPS system and others which incorporate or utilize RPS system data.  While the RPS system software is developed by a state agency, system files which contain information entered by a local government are considered local government records.

*1.[847]

Real property history data file contained in taxation/assessment data system, and related records, created for informational and reference purposes, containing summary and/or cumulative historical information on such areas as property ownership, sales, land use, property characteristics and structures:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE: Counties and municipalities should consider permanent retention of the these real property taxation/assessment history data files for all parcels of property.  This information may be useful for long-range planning purposes, mass reappraisal, and for community, urban planning and architectural history research.  More importantly, this data provides for ease of access to summary data on individual parcels of real property and the structures located on them.  In addition, this data file may be used to access more detailed records maintained in electronic data output or maps, plans, permits and other paper records in inactive storage.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

*2.[848]

Real property current data file contained in taxation/assessment data system (either RPS or equivalent system), and related records, containing current information on such areas as property ownership, sales, land use, property characteristics and structures:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed, but not less than 4 years

NOTE: Counties and municipalities should consider permanent retention of the basic data elements of these real property taxation/assessment systems for all parcels of property.  These data elements may be outputted in electronic, paper, microfilm or other format, or may be transferred to an automated real property history data file (see item no. 847, above.)  Contact SARA for additional advice.

NOTE: A series of interrelated and inseparable files currently contained in the RPS system hold both summary and detailed taxation/assessment data.  This Schedule treats these files as one record.

*3.[606]

Master summary record of real property transfers within municipality:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed, but not less than 6 years

NOTE:  Appraise these records for historical significance.  These records, compiled from real property transfer reports received from the county, may have continuing value for historical or other research.  Contact SARA for additional advice.

*4.[849]

Street address/parcel number authority data file, used to supply this or other system with accurate, up-to-date information on real property tax parcel numbers, property owners' names and addresses, parcel sizes, E-911 or other street addresses, or to correlate multiple addressing and/or parcel numbering systems: 
RETENTION:        Maintain as updated data file as long as address and/or parcel numbering system(s) the file contains are in use, and as long as necessary to access records identified by previous address or numbering systems. 

*5.[850]

Final assessment roll sequential master backup file (sometimes known as "taxable status" file), produced annually by RPS or equivalent system, containing assessment data submitted to the State Office of Real Property Services:
RETENTION:        10 years after filing of related assessment roll

NOTE:  This data may have secondary value beyond the purpose for which it is created, if it can serve as a "snapshot" of assessment data, and no other annual snapshot is created.  This record may be valuable in place of or in conjunction with an automated real property history data file.  Contact SARA for additional advice on the maintenance and uses of these records.

*6.[851] Lists, reports, studies, special projects and analyses created from data contained in one or more data files in real property taxation/assessment system or subsystem
 

a.       Final reports and studies resulting from analysis of system data, containing significant information on real property and structures located thereon, used for such purposes as long-range planning, reappraisal, or historical preservation:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Background materials and supporting documentation:
RETENTION:        6 years after project completed, or after date of final entry in record

 

c.       Preliminary reports and studies resulting from analysis of system data, containing routine information on real property and structures located thereon, or used to produce final reports and studies, as well as lists, logs or other internal information records:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

 

Valuation and Assessment

*1.[582]

Assessor's field data, including field book and automated field assessment data file, containing assessor's notes and computations used in determining property valuation:
RETENTION:        4 years after last entry

2.[583]

Property assessment record card or equivalent master summary record of improvements and alterations to unit of real property, and resulting valuation and assessment:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

*3.[852]

Physical inventory and property description detailed data file, used to produce property assessment record card or equivalent record, containing detailed property description (and sometimes related valuation) information, as well as photographic images and outline sketches of properties and structures located on them:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed, but not less than 4 years

NOTE: Counties and municipalities should consider permanent retention of the these detailed property description data files for all parcels of property.  This information may be very useful for community, urban planning and architectural history research.  If this is not feasible, then SARA strongly recommends that the most important data elements be preserved either in the system or output to "history" files, reports or other system output.  Images contained in the system may be particularly valuable for architectural, community and historical research.  Contact SARA for additional advice on the creation and maintenance of these records.

*4.[584]

Records used in determining property valuation, including but not limited to property valuation detailed data file, used to conduct analyses and perform computations necessary for valuation or revaluation of property; detailed property description; file content sheet; inventory content sheet; comparative property valuations; comparative sales records and comparables and/or sales data file; standard valuation criteria data and copies of building and zoning records:
RETENTION:        4 years after superseded or obsolete

NOTE:  If the file content sheet is merely used for posting information on assessment changes, it is covered by item no. 26 in the General section.

*5.[853] Mass reappraisal records
 

a.       Final or justification reports or studies, created or received as part of mass appraisal process:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Detailed data, cost tables, preliminary reports and computations created or received as part of mass appraisal process:
RETENTION:        4 years

*6.[854]

Questionnaires and data mailings sent to property owners, used to update information and to verify assessment and property description information maintained by local government:
RETENTION:        1 year after any necessary changes are posted to official records 

7.[585] Railroad ceiling and special franchise assessment determination records
 

a.       Annual certificate of State-determined ceiling or assessment:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Railroad ceiling and special franchise assessment records, other than annual certificate, including but not limited to notice of tentative ceiling or assessment, and record of apportionment to districts:
RETENTION:        3 years

*8.[586] Equalization rate records
 

a.       Certificate of final equalization rate, as determined by New York State Office of Real Property Services:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Equalization rate determination records other than certificate of final rate, including but not limited to notice of tentative rate, data submitted and reports submitted to State Office of Real Property Services:
RETENTION:        3 years

*9.[587] Tax maps, including updates and revisions
 

a.       Official copy of map created by or for municipality:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Copy of map, held by municipality which conducts assessments, where official copy is held by county:
RETENTION:        10 years after filing

 

c.       Copy of map, held by local government which does not conduct assessments, where official copy is held by county or municipality:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

 

d.       Certification of municipality's proper maintenance of tax maps:
RETENTION:        2 years

 

e.       Property index cards, supplemental data and background files, used in tax map preparation and maintenance:
RETENTION:        6 years

NOTE:   Appraise these records for historical significance prior to disposition.  Property index cards and related records may contain retrospective sales and other property history information, which may be very valuable if the same information is not contained in a real property history file.  

*10.[588]

Tax determination records for State-owned lands subject to taxation, including certificate of tax payable, working papers, correspondence, and reports:
RETENTION:        6 years

NOTE:  Appraise these records for historical significance.  Certain records describing state-owned property, determining the amount of tax payable and concerning specific uses of state lands which are a matter of public concern may merit permanent retention. Contact the State Archives for additional advice in this area.

**11.[589] Tax exemption or abatement file covering veterans, aged, School Tax Relief Program (STAR), nonprofit organizations, new business, conservation easements and other exemptions or abatements
 

a.         Original detailed application and supporting documentation:
RETENTION:            6 years after expiration of exemption or abatement

 

 

b.         Renewal applications, routine correspondence and memoranda (when original detailed application is maintained):
RETENTION:            6 years

 

c.         Application denial records, including results of hearing:
RETENTION:            6 years after final determination

 

d.         Forms used to report social security numbers/taxpayer identification numbers and not containing other substantive information, for use in income verification programs:
RETENTION:            0 after no longer needed

12.[590]

Assessment/tax grievance file, including but not limited to application for re-evaluation, copy of advisory appraisal, petition, statement of complaint, copy of hearing results and correspondence:
RETENTION:            6 years after final determination

NOTE:  Minutes of the Assessment Board of Review must be retained permanently.  See item no. 1 in the General section.

*13.[855]

Copies of tax grievance or judicial assessment review records received by school districts, non-assessing villages and counties, including but not limited to copies of petition and notice filed pursuant to sections 708(3) and 730(8), Real Property Tax Law:
RETENTION:            1 year

NOTE: The receiving agency may wish to retain these records longer if the grievance or judicial assessment review may involve a substantial potential future tax refund.

14.[591] Agricultural land assessment records, including but not limited to application for agricultural value assessment and correspondence
 

a.         For lands within agricultural district:
RETENTION:            6 years

 

b.         For lands outside of agricultural district:
RETENTION:            20 years

15.[592]

Assessor's annual report, created and filed pursuant to Part 193-3, 9NYCRR, Subtitle F:
RETENTION:            10 years

 

Assessment Roll/Tax Roll

1.[593]

Working papers or other intermediary records used in preparation of, or in posting changes to, assessment roll or tax roll, including but not limited to assessor's notes, Record of Taxable Status and automated data file:
RETENTION:        3 years after filing of roll

2.[594]

Assessment and tax rolls (including records relating to correction of errors on assessment and/or tax rolls)

 

a.       Tentative assessment roll:
RETENTION:        5 years after filing

 

b.       Final assessment roll:
RETENTION:        10 years after filing

NOTE: While information contained in final assessment rolls or non-warrant tax rolls is maintained permanently by counties, these records are frequently consulted at the municipal level for administrative and research purposes. SARA recommends that municipalities retain these permanently if long-term needs exist to consult these records.

 

c.       Warrant copy of tax roll, including warrant or levy to collect taxes:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

d.       Non-warrant copy of tax roll, when warrant copy is retained permanently:
RETENTION:        1 year after filing

 

e.       Abstract of tax roll:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

Tax Collection

*1.[595] Tax collection records
 

a.       Tax collection data file, returned copy of tax bill, copy of receipt issued taxpayer, collector's daily accounts, receiving office tapes, records of overpayment, rebate or refund, record or notice of payment of post-due taxes, report on tax monies collected, request for extension of time to collect taxes, and similar records:
RETENTION:        6 years

 

b.       Tax collection history data, containing summary tax collection history information, created from tax collection data file:
RETENTION:        0 after no longer needed

NOTE:  Appraise these records for historical significance prior to disposition.  This data may be useful for a number of years for convenience of reference, and may possibly have long-term historical value.

 

c.       Documentation of regular updates or corrections made to tax collection data file:
RETENTION:        6 years

*2.[596]

Statement or list of unpaid taxes or taxes due, or other lists, reports or studies relating to tax collection:
RETENTION:        6 years

3.[597] Tax escrow account records
 

a.       Notification of creation, transfer or termination of escrow account, when original record is maintained by county:
RETENTION:        1 year after transfer or termination of account

 

b.       Notification of creation, transfer or termination of escrow account, when original record is not maintained by county:
RETENTION:        6 years after transfer or termination of account

 

c.       List of tax escrow accounts:
RETENTION:        1 year after superseded or obsolete

 

Tax Redemptions and Sales

*1.[598]

Master summary record of real property tax lien sales:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

*2.[599] Real property tax lien sale records
 

a.       Official copy of tax lien sale (or auction) list or catalog:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

  b.       Official copy of notice of sale and proof of publication:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT
 

c.       Letter notifying owner, mortgagee, lien-holder or any other "interested party" of the forthcoming sale and proof of personal delivery of letter of notification (by process server), or proof of delivery and receipt via certified or registered mail:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

d.       Tax lien sale records, including but not limited to tax lien foreclosure and sale data file, copy of deed, bids, abstract of sale, memoranda and correspondence, documentation of regular updates or corrections made to tax lien data file, except letter of notification, proof of delivery and receipt of letter of notification, sale book and official copy of notice of sale, proof of publication, sale (or auction) catalog or list:
RETENTION:        6 years after sale

3.[600]

Master summary record (register, log or index file) of real property tax lien redemptions and/or discharges:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

*4.[601]

Real property tax lien redemption records, including but not limited to notice of foreclosure, certificate of redemption, record of payment of tax and penalties, memoranda and correspondence, except master summary record:
RETENTION:        6 years after redemption or discharge of lien

NOTE: These records may have value in documenting title to real property.  The State Archives suggests that these records be evaluated, in conjunction with the master summary record, above, before disposition takes place.

 

Miscellaneous

**1.[602] Real property transfer report, including copy of deed, submitted to New York State Office of Real Property Services (covers form LA 23, EA 5217 or equivalents)
 

a.                  For all local governments except non-assessing villages:
RETENTION:        6 years

 

b.                  For non-assessing villages:
RETENTION:        1 year after subsequent assessment roll finalized by town or county

*2.[603]

Informational listing or index used in relation to taxation and assessment, including but not limited to lists of property owners, real estate transfers, address changes, exempt properties, filed grievances, tax redemptions, notice of bankruptcy or foreclosure proceeding, and billing addresses:
RETENTION:        1 year after superseded or obsolete

3.[604] Records of apportionment of tax monies
 

a.       Annual certificate of apportionment sent to municipality or district:
RETENTION:        PERMANENT

 

b.       Apportionment records, except annual certificates:
RETENTION:        6 years

4.[605]

Tax search record, including but not limited to record of searches conducted, abstract of search results, correspondence and memoranda:
RETENTION:        6 years

5.[607]

Tax levy and tax rate determination records, including computation of constitutional tax margin and statement filed with State Comptroller's Office:
RETENTION:        6 years

 

 

Last updated
Wed, 2015-10-14 15:15