Tax Exemption for Land Used for Religious and Educational Instruction

In Matter of Yeshivath Shearith Hapletah v. Assessor of Town of Fallsburg, 79 NY2d 244, 249, the Court of Appeals found that a 31-acre parcel of land in upstate New York, used primarily in the summer for religious and educational instruction, was fully exempt pursuant to RPTL 420-a (1) (a). The Court stated that "the test of entitlement to tax exemption ... is whether the particular use is ' "reasonably incidental" to the primary or major purpose of the facility'." (Yeshivath, supra, at 250.) Under this test, housing facilities for the petitioner's summer faculty, staff, students and families, and even for the year-round caretaker, were found to be "reasonably incidental" to the primary religious purpose of the property. Indeed, even a 10-acre wooded portion of the property used for hiking was found to be used for purposes incidental to the primary religious purpose of the entire 31-acre parcel.