New Oswego County Law Will Provide Gradual Tax Exemption For Home Improvements

OSWEGO – Oswego County homeowners can apply to receive a gradual tax exemption for capital improvements to their homes under a new local law approved by the Oswego County Legislature March 12.

The law exempts residential buildings from increased taxes and special ad valorem levies for capital improvements valued at $5,000 or more for a period of eight years.

The law has been submitted to the Secretary of State and will take effect after it has been filed by that office.

“Local Law Number 1 of 2015 law provides a partial property tax exemption for a period of eight years for 1- and 2-family residential buildings that are reconstructed, altered, or improved under certain conditions,” said County Legislator David Holst, District 4, Amboy, chairman of the Legislature’s Government, Courts and Consumer Affairs Committee.

The exemption is limited to $80,000 in increased assessed value, based on the increased market value due to reconstruction or improvement projects.  The exemption is calculated at 100 percent the first year and gradually declines to 12.5 percent the eighth year.

“We want to encourage home owners to invest in improvements to their property, and this measure will help offset the higher property taxes that result from increased assessed value,” said Legislator Holst. “Unfortunately, due to New York State’s structure of government, property owners in New York State pay for most government programs and services through their property taxes. The tax burden on the homeowner increases when the assessed value of their property is increased, and hopefully, this short-term relief will encourage property owners to move ahead with any necessary or desirable improvements that they may have been considering.”

To be eligible, the property must be used as a residential building for one or two families.

The value of the construction project must exceed $5,000 and must not include ordinary repairs and maintenance.

The greater portion of the building, measured by the square footage, must be at least five years old.

The exemption only applies to property that is owned by a private individual or individuals.

If the title is transferred to someone other than the heirs or distributes of the owner, the exemption will cease.

The exemption does not apply to newly constructed homes.

The Oswego County Legislature’s Government, Courts and Consumer Affairs Committee has been researching the proposed law for several months, assisted by Real Property Tax Director Debra Mullenax.

In addition to Legislator Holst, committee members include John Martino, vice chairman, District 6, Central Square; Daniel Farfaglia, District 24, Fulton; Richard Kline, District 12, Pennellville; Roy Reehil, District 5, Constantia; Amy Tresidder, District 16, Oswego; and Terry Wilbur, District 21, Hannibal.

To receive an exemption, a homeowner must apply to their local assessor using a form designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Additional information is posted on the Oswego County Real Property Tax website at

A list of local assessors is also posted on the website.

The Oswego County Real Property Tax Office is located in the Legislative Office Building, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego, phone 315-349-8315.