Improvements to NY LEED Buildings Get A (Tax) Break

Have plans to improve a LEED-certified building in New York state? Real tax benefits could be headed your way, depending on where you live. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill into law authorizing municipal corporations to provide a real property tax exemption for improvements to LEED certified or other green initiative certified buildings.

As of July 18, it’s up to individual municipalities to decide whether or not to adopt the exemption, but if your city or town decides to get on board, this exemption will apply to construction projects planned for 2013. To qualify, the real property improvement must be documented by a building report, and the value of the improvement project must exceed $10,000. (Ordinary maintenance and repair projects need not apply.) The exemption is only available to the extent that the improvement increases the assessed value of the real property.

New York

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For property certified by an accredited LEED professional as meeting the certified, silver, gold, or platinum designations, these exemptions are equal to 100 percent of the increase in assessed value as a result of the improvement in the first year. The exemption will gradually be phased out over ten years, with 20 percent exempted for platinum buildings in year ten and no exemption in year ten for certified, silver, and gold buildings. The LEED professional must file a copy of the LEED certification with the local Assessor’s Office, and the Assessor must approve this certification.

The upshot? If you’re considering an improvement to a LEED-certified green building, don’t let the fear of increased property taxes hold you back.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.