All real property in New York is subject to taxation unless specific legal provisions grant it exempt status. Personal property is not subject to taxation. Real property tax exemptions are granted on the basis of many different criteria, including the use to which the property is put, the owner's ability to pay taxes, the desire of the state and local governments to encourage certain economic or social activities, and other such rationale.
Most exemptions are granted under Article four of the Real Property Tax law, but others are authorized by a wide variety of statutes. Common exemptions include:
Certain exemptions provide full relief from taxation (wholly exempt property), while others reduce the taxes which would otherwise be payable to varying degrees (partially exempt property). Some exemptions apply to taxes levied for county, city, town, and school purposes, whereas others pertain only to some of these purposes. Yet another difference involves the extent of local government autonomy; while some exemptions are mandated by state law, others are subject to local option and / or local determination of eligibility criteria.