Veterans can still seek property tax break

Veterans still have time to apply for a property tax exemption that’s been modified to make it more
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Veterans still have time to apply for a property tax exemption that’s been modified to make it more friendly.

Montgomery County residents who are veterans but live outside of the city of Amsterdam could be exempt from paying county property taxes on 15 percent of their property’s value up to $12,000 starting in 2009, if they get an application to their local assessor by March 1.

Those in the city of Amsterdam get the exemption starting in 2010 if they get an application to their assessor by Dec. 1, said Florence A. Stanton, county Real Property Tax Services Agency director.

Stanton said the law as written and modified states that it becomes effective on Jan. 3, 2008, and the deadline for Amsterdam property owners to file for exemptions passed on Dec. 1, Stanton said.

County Veterans Services Director William Mullarkey said three main changes to the law, approved by the state Legislature last year, may draw more eligible veterans to apply.

For one, they no longer need a federal “Cold War Recognition Certificate,” a document that wasn’t automatically sent to veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces between Sept. 2, 1945 and Dec. 26, 1991.

“There weren’t all that many that had it when they called me,” Mullarkey said.

About 25 veterans sought assistance to obtain a certificate since the county approved the exemption last year, Mullarkey said.

It takes between four to five weeks to have the certification mailed from a armed forces record center in Virginia, he said.

The earlier version of the law also required veterans to serve at least 365 days, which left out some veterans, Mullarkey said.

“Sometimes, an individual is injured, and you don’t get to complete 365 days,” Mullarkey said.

The third major change in the law eliminates the need for veterans to renew an application for the exemption every year. Now, it’s 10 years, Mullarkey said.

Stanton said she informed local assessors of the changes and let them know veterans need only discharge papers, not a special certificate, to prove they served.

It’s unclear how many of the estimated 5,000 Montgomery County veterans might be eligible for the exemption.

Mullarkey said there are roughly 2,100 veterans who served between 1945 and 1991, but he estimates about 250 may own property.

Stanton said she did not have any estimates on how many veterans have already registered for the exemption.

Jim McDonough, director of the state Division of Veterans Affairs, said he is hearing veterans are more inclined to apply for the exemption now that the law was changed.

“Any benefit you can achieve based upon veteran status is going to be welcome. The legislation made it easier for veterans to receive their benefit,” McDonough said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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