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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 60

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans’ exemption (seriously disabled veteran) (scope of exemption) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458:

The veterans’ exemption from real property taxes is limited to $5,000 and applies to general municipal taxes but not to school taxes. An additional exemption, not to exceed $10,000, is available to seriously disabled veterans who have received pecuniary assistance from the United States Government toward the acquisition of suitable housing units with special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veterans’ disability. This additional exemption applies to school taxes as well as general municipal taxes.

We have received an inquiry as to whether property owned by a permanently disabled, blinded, World War II veteran would be exempt from paying local school taxes as well as other general municipal taxes, and whether the provisions of subdivision 3 of section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law apply only to paraplegic veterans.

Subdivision 1 of section 458 provides an exemption to all veterans who meet certain qualifications. This exemption is limited to $5,000 and does not apply to taxes for local school purposes.

Subdivision 3 provides an additional exemption to any seriously disabled veteran who has received pecuniary assistance from the United States Government toward the acquisition of a suitable housing unit with special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veteran’s disability. Such additional exemption may not exceed $10,000 and applies to taxes for local school purposes as well as other general municipal taxes. In order to qualify for this additional exemption it is not necessary that the veteran be a paraplegic but he must satisfy the requirement that moneys be granted to him from the United States Government specifically to acquire a housing unit with special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of his disability.

For example, if a seriously disabled veteran is granted the usual veterans’ benefits (i.e., mustering-out-pay, subsistence allowance, state bonus, etc.) and he applies such funds toward the purchase of real property, he would be entitled to an exemption not to exceed $5,000 and such exemption would not apply to taxes for local school purposes. If such seriously disabled veteran also receives additional moneys specifically granted to purchase a housing unit with special facilities which are necessary because of his disability, such moneys, not exceeding $10,000, could be the basis for an additional exemption which would apply to school taxes as well as other general municipal taxes.

Therefore, it is not the condition of the veteran which is controlling in this matter but rather it is the purpose for which the moneys were granted by the United States Government.

The grant of money or pecuniary assistance referred to in subdivision 3 is allocated and paid to seriously disabled veterans pursuant to requirements specified in Chapter 21 of the Veterans’ Benefit Act (38 U.S.C.A., §§ 801-805). This federal statute governs the grant of such money and sets forth the veterans who are eligible for assistance and the limitations on the assistance which is furnished.

February 14, 1972

Updated: