The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the owner of a retreat (Greentree, a non-profit) )was entitled to a real property tax exemption for the entirety of the property, not just the developed portion:
On this appeal, the record supports the conclusion that Greentree is organized exclusively for an exempt purpose within the meaning of RPTL 420-a(1)(a), and that its conference center was used for that exempt purpose during the tax year 2013/2014 … . Indeed, the Assessors do not dispute this conclusion. Rather, the Assessors contend that undeveloped portions of the property are not integral to the use of the structures on the property as a retreat and conference center, and thus, the entire subject property is not “used exclusively” for carrying out Greentree’s exempt purpose as required by RPTL 420-a(1)(a).
The term “exclusively,” in the context of RPTL 420-a, “is not to be read literally” … , and “has been broadly defined to connote principal or primary such that purposes and uses merely auxiliary or incidental to the main and exempt purpose and use will not defeat the exemption” … . “Thus, whether property is used exclusively’ for purposes of section 420-a is dependent upon whether the primary use’ of the property is in furtherance of permitted purposes” … .
Here, Greentree demonstrated that the entire property should be considered as a single unit and that it is used exclusively for tax exempt purposes. More specifically, Greentree offered proof that the undeveloped area is an integral part of the property, regardless of the frequency of use, because it served to preserve the character of the remaining property and, thus, is entitled to exemption … . Matter of Greentree Found. v Assessor & Bd. of Assessors of County of Nassau, 2016 NY Slip Op 05861, 2nd Dept 8-24-16
REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW (NON-PROFIT RETREAT ENTITLED TO REAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR ENTIRE PROPERTY, NOT JUST THE DEVELOPED PORTION)/TAX EXEMPTION (REAL PROPERTY, NON-PROFIT RETREAT ENTITLED TO REAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR ENTIRE PROPERTY, NOT JUST THE DEVELOPED PORTION)