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Volume 6 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 114

Opinions of Counsel index

Veterans exemption (member of exempt class) (maritime personnel) - Real Property Tax Law, § 458:

A person who served in the United States Maritime Service is not considered to have rendered military or naval services and therefore may not receive a veterans exemption (Real Property Tax Law, § 458).

Our opinion has been requested as to whether an individual who served in the United States Maritime Service from December, 1942 through September, 1954 may qualify for a veterans exemption from real property taxation (Real Property Tax Law, § 458).

Among the requirements of section 458 is that the pension, bonus or insurance moneys used to purchase the property upon which an exemption is claimed must have been received in recognition of “military or naval service.” It does not appear from federal law that service in the United State Maritime Service constitutes military or naval service (see, 46 U.S.C., § 1126). Perusal of other federal statutes leads to a similar conclusion (10 U.S.C., § 101(4); 38 U.S.C., § 101 (10); 50 U.S.C. App., § 511; see also, Osbourne v. United States, 164 F.2d 767 (2d Cir.)). Similarly, with respect to New York law, it has been held that an individual who served in the Merchant Marine in time of war was not a veteran within the meaning of section 85 of the Civil Service Law (Brooks v. Dennison, 61 Misc.2d 234, 305 N.Y.S.2d 197).

Accordingly, based on the foregoing, it is our opinion that a person who served in the United States Maritime Service is not considered to have rendered “military or naval services” within the meaning of section 458 of the Real Property Tax Law, and he does not qualify for exemption pursuant to that section.

June 28, 1979

NOTE:  Construes law prior to L.1989, c.701.

Updated: