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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 66

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans exemption (generally) (computation - proportional exemption) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458:

A local law to maintain the proportional values of veterans exemptions subsequent to a revaluation applies only to those parcels owned both before and after the revaluation by a member of the eligible class. The proportional value exemption may not be transferred to real property subsequently purchased.

Upon completion of a town revaluation, the town board adopted the provisions of section 458(5) of the Real Property Tax Law to maintain the proportional value of veterans exemptions. As a result, one veteran’s prerevaluation exemption of $300 became a $2,800 exemption on the full value roll. The veteran then sold the parcel and purchased another within the town. We are asked whether he is entitled to a $300 exemption or $2,800 exemption on the new parcel.

In our opinion, the veteran would be entitled to the $300 exemption only, based on the language of section 458(5). The statute’s reference to changes in the amount of the exemption are all in terms of a particular parcel, not in terms of the owner of the parcel. It refers to “the ratio between the exemption granted under this section and the total assessed value of the real property for which such exemption has been granted” (emphasis added). Section 458(5) relates to the ratio of the exemption granted the property prior to the filing of the full value assessment roll and the parcel’s assessed value. Subdivision 5 does not convert the increased exemption amount computed for purposes of that subdivision into eligible funds to be applied to other parcels of real property which the veteran may thereafter own. The only consequence of the determination of the ratio is that the assessor is directed to adjust the taxable assessed value and the exempt assessed value of that particular parcel in accordance with the ratio.

The veterans exemption statute has always been interpreted to require a veteran wishing to transfer his exemption to a newly purchased parcel to complete a new application indicating to the assessor that he has used eligible funds (e.g., proceeds of sale) in the purchase of the property (1 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 103; 5 id. No. 35). When he files this new application, he is subject to the provisions of section 458(1) which, in paragraph (2), contains the $5,000 eligible funds limitation on exemption. Thus, the transfer of the veteran’s exemption from a parcel owned prior to the revaluation to a new parcel would reinstate the limitation of section 458(1) relating to eligible funds.

March 1, 1982

NOTE:  Construes law prior to L.1984, c.525.  See also Opinion 9-26.