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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 102

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans’ exemption (dependent parents) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458:

In order for the parents of a veteran to qualify for the exemption provided by section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law, they must continually meet the test of dependency.

We have received an inquiry concerning the dependency requirement of section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law which provides an exemption from local real property taxation on real property owned by the dependent parents of a veteran to the extent, not exceeding $5,000, of eligible funds used in the purchase of such property.

In order for the parents of a veteran to qualify for this exemption, it must appear that the parents continually meet the test of dependency. Generally, this is satisfied if they were not completely self-supporting at the time of the veteran’s death and were dependent upon the veteran to support them, at least in part, at that time and if, after the veteran’s death, they are not self-supporting. Accordingly, a dependent is defined as one who derives his support in whole or in part from another. The issue of dependency, however, is a factual one to be determined by the local assessor in the light of the existing facts and circumstances in each case. Thus, the value of real property owned by the parents, their income and their well being are among the factors to be considered in determining whether the parents are to be considered as dependent (see In Re Sinning’s Estate, 253 App.Div. 723, 300 N.Y.S. 445).

The fact that property purchased by dependent parents with eligible funds may be entitled to the veterans’ exemption on one year’s assessment roll does not necessarily guarantee that the exemption will be continued automatically each year since the dependency status of the parents may change from year to year. The assessor may periodically request information from the parents to establish the fact that dependency continues. For instance, if at some time after the veteran’s death, the parents were to receive income from other sources which sufficiently support them, the parents could no longer be considered dependent upon the veteran and under such circumstances the assessor would be justified in denying the continuance of the exemption. The fact that the parents do receive income from other sources, standing alone, does not mean that they are not dependent. If the parents require additional assistance in order to be adequately supported, they would continue to qualify as dependent parents.

April 5, 1972