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Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 109

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans’ exemption (generally) (application) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458:

Where an application for a veterans’ exemption is timely filed and additional information deemed necessary by the assessor is not provided prior to the time required for the completion of the tentative assessment roll and the assessor is not satisfied that the applicant is entitled to the exemption, he should deny the same. However, a complaint may be filed with the board of assessment review which may consider the application as filed and may also request additional information in order to determine eligibility for the exemption.

We have received an inquiry concerning a veterans’ application for a veterans’ exemption pursuant to section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law.

It appears that the veteran was previously granted a veterans’ exemption in the sum of $2,100 and has applied for an additional exemption on the basis of eligible funds received and applied toward the payment of a purchase money mortgage since the date the previous exemption was granted. The application was filed on March 14, 1974 but was returned to the veteran since he did not include a statement from the Veterans’ Administration as to the eligible funds claimed in his application. It appears that this application was denied on the ground that the requested information was not filed on or before May 1.

Section 458 provides, in part, “. . . On or before the appropriate taxable status date, a verified application for the exemption of such real property from taxation may be filed in the appropriate assessor’s office by or on behalf of the owner thereof, which application must show the facts on which the exemption is claimed, including the amount of eligible funds used in or toward the purchase of such property . . .” The verified application of the veteran appears to be in compliance with this requirement.

However, an assessor may properly require such additional information as he may deem necessary in order to be satisfied that the applicant is entitled to this exemption. He may require such additional information to be filed at a time between the date the application was filed and the date the assessment roll is tentatively completed and filed.

If the requested information is not filed within such time, and the assessor is not satisfied that the applicant is entitled to the exemption, he should deny the same. However, even in such case, since the application was timely filed, the applicant may file a verified complaint with the board of assessment review which may consider the application as filed and may also request additional information in order to determine the applicant’s eligibility for the exemption.

Any other interpretation would lend itself to denials of applications to persons eligible for this exemption, especially in cases where the real property is purchased shortly before taxable status date.

The 1973 amendment (L.1973, c.44) changing the date for filing applications from grievance day to taxable status date was specifically designed to afford applicants additional time to obtain information which the assessor may require in order to make a determination and further to provide applicants with ample opportunity to obtain administrative review in the event of the denial of their applications.

Of course, if the required information is not available at the time the application is reviewed by the board of assessment review, the application would usually be denied on the ground of failure of proof although the applicant may in fact have been eligible for the exemption. However, these are matters beyond the control of the local assessing officials who must make determinations concerning these exemptions in strict compliance with the statute.

May 29, 1974

Updated: