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Volume 10 - Opinions of Counsel SBRPS No. 52

Opinions of Counsel index

Alternative veterans exemption (eligibility) (peacetime service-connected disability) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458-a:

The real property of an individual who suffered a service-connected disability while in military service during peacetime is not eligible for an alternative veterans exemption.

We have been asked whether property owned by an individual, who suffered a service-connected injury during peacetime, may qualify for the alternative veterans exemption (Real Property Tax Law, § 458-a). We think not.

As we explained in 9 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 120:

The alternative veterans exemption provides three levels of benefit to qualified veterans. Property owned by honorably discharged veterans (or certain of their relatives), who served during statutorily prescribed time periods, may receive a 15 percent exemption. An additional 10 percent exemption is awarded to veterans who served in a combat zone; and eligible veterans, who sustained service-connected disabilities, may receive additional exemptions equal to one-half of their disability ratings. {1}

To receive any exemption pursuant to section 458-a, however, an individual must be a “veteran” as such term is defined in section 458-a(1)(e) or be one of the near relatives of such a veteran as prescribed in that law. “Veterans” for purposes of section 458-a are those who served in the active military, naval or air service during a period of war or who served in Lebanon, Grenada or Panama in certain military operations. In this case, it appears that the applicant’s only military service was during peacetime. Consequently, even though the applicant may be considered to be a veteran for purposes of certain Federal veterans benefits (see Title 38 of the United States Code), his property is not eligible for an alternative veterans exemption.

March 5, 1996

{1}  The three parts of the exemption are also subject to dollar limitations and equalization factors.