Gov. Cuomo Signs Law Expanding on Tax Exemptions Available for People with Disabilities Who Modify Their Homes to Improve Accessibility

New Legislation Offers Financial Assistance to Homeowners Who Must Renovate their Home to Accommodate for Physical Disabilities

Governor Cuomo has signed bill A5137/S6452 into law, which will allow for additional property tax exemptions for residential real property when an improvement has been made to enhance accessibility for a physically disabled homeowner. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywomen Sandy Galef, Melissa Miller, and Senator Anna M. Kaplan, offers critical financial relief for individuals with disabilities and their families, and helps them to maintain an independent lifestyle at home.

The cost to families and individuals who must make changes to their homes to accommodate for a physical disability can be tremendous. And yet these building modifications, unlike voluntary aesthetic changes, are necessary to appropriately care for people with physical disabilities. With this newly expanded tax exemption, any increase in property value as a result of necessary accessibility modifications can be exempted from overall property tax calculations. Modifications covered under the law include ramps, grab bars, alterations to light and heating systems, and more. This bill ensures that property taxes for New Yorkers with disabilities and their families remains manageable.

Currently, New York law allows municipalities to implement this tax relief for eligible homeowners, but the law leaves out an important portion of the total tax burden owed by New Yorkers – services provided by “special districts.” Some examples of special districts are water districts, library districts, fire districts, etc. This new law allows the exemption offered in municipalities to also be provided by special districts, ensuring continuity in this critical tax relief across all taxing entities.

Assemblywoman Galef said, “It is so important that New Yorkers with disabilities are given all the tools needed to make sure that they are safe and comfortable in their own homes. This law helps make our tax law more equitable and accommodating for people with disabilities.”

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “No New Yorker should be penalized for making necessary accessibility improvements just so they can continue to live a safe, independent lifestyle. This new law will provide critical tax relief to New Yorkers with disabilities so they can maintain their quality of life in their own homes.”

Assemblywoman Miller said, “I don’t think people don’t realize how very expensive modifications are. A ramp, widened doorways or an accessible bathroom are modifications that will enable a person to stay in their homes, but the costs are prohibitive. This law allowing special districts to implement the tax relief ensures that anyone who needs to have these modifications done will have benefit of tax relief.”

The bill was signed as Chapter 649 and will take effect immediately.