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Huntington's Cold War vets could get tax exemption

A Berlin guardhouse where American and Soviet troops faced off during the Cold War.

By Michael R. Ebert

The Town of Huntington is considering granting tax exemptions to military veterans who served during the Cold War.

The exemption would be in conjunction with a recently enacted change in the New York State Real Property Tax Law.

“With the adoption of the state law comes an opportunity to close a loop in the system that created an inequity for some of our veterans,” said Supervisor Frank Petrone, noting that a public hearing to amend the Town Code is slated for Nov. 7. “Cold War Veterans will now be entitled to the same property tax exemptions as their counterparts who served during wartime, provided they qualify.”

According to town officials, a “Cold War veteran” is defined as a male or female who served on active duty for a period of more than 365 days in the U.S. Armed Forces from Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991. In addition, the person must have been discharged under honorable conditions and received the Cold War recognition certificate. The exemption is also extended to qualifying spouses or un-remarried surviving spouses.

The amount of the tax relief is based on 15 percent of the property’s assessed value, provided the exemption doesn’t exceed $12,000 multiplied by the latest State equalization rate. Veterans suffering from disabling injuries while in service may claim an exemption of up to $40,000, the town said. The exemption can be granted for a period of 10 years.

If enacted, this reduction will first appear on the December 2008 tax bill. Eligible residents would need to apply with the Town Assessor’s office and provide a Cold War certificate, DD-214, a driver’s license or other ID, and the deed to the property if recently purchased.

The Towns of Brookhaven and Southampton approved similar measures last week.

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