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Copake adopts tax breaks for veterans


COPAKE—This town has joined the ranks of several others in Columbia County that have enacted veterans’ real property tax exemptions at increased levels.

At the June 8 Copake Town Board meeting, board members adopted Local Law #3, which increases veterans’ tax exemptions and establishes a Gold Star Parent exemption.

No residents spoke about the law at a public hearing prior to the meeting.

Copake, along with Canaan, Chatham, Germantown, New Lebanon and Stockport now have Alternate Veterans’ Exemptions at rates that equal those adopted by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors in March.

The six towns listed have exemption rates for veterans who served during wartime of $36,000 (up from $24,000); for veterans who served during wartime and in a combat zone of an additional $24,000 (up from $16,000) and 50% of the veteran’s disability rating not to exceed $120,000 (up from $80,000) for a disabled veteran. The amount depends on the veteran’s disability rating from the Veterans Administration.

The amount listed is how much a veteran who owns property can subtract from the assessed value of his or her property, Columbia County Real Property Tax Service Agency Director Suzette Booy told The Columbia Paper in a recent phone interview.

For example, if a veteran’s property is assessed at $100,000 and he or she served during wartime and in a combat zone, the veteran can subtract $60,000 from the property’s assessed value and only pay taxes on a property valued at $40,000.

Gold Star Parents, defined as parents of a child who died in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during a time of war, are allowed the same exemptions for which their deceased child would have been eligible when title to residential property is in the Gold Star Parent’s name.

Veterans who reside in towns with the increased exemptions can get the exemptions on town and county property taxes.

The increased exemptions are effective with the 2018 assessment rolls and will impact the 2019 town and county tax bills, said Ms. Booy.

Veterans who already have an Alternate Veterans Exemption will automatically receive the increased exemptions. Those veterans who do not currently have such exemptions must fill out an application and submit it to their assessor by March 1, 2018.

The impact in Copake is minimal with the increased exemptions amounting to about $3,300 which must be absorbed by the owners of Copake’s roughly 3,000 parcels, Copake Supervisor Jeff Nayer said at the June meeting.

Time of service requirements for eligibility for an Alternative Veterans Exemption are service in: Persian Gulf conflict, August 2, 1990 to present; Vietnam War, February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975; Korean War, June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955 and World War II, December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946.

Other service requirements to quality for veteran’s exemptions may be found on the New York State Department of Taxation website at

About 2,600 veterans and one Gold Star Parent in Columbia County qualify for the Alternate Veterans Exemptions, Ms. Booy said. She noted that she is in the process of sending out notices to each town about the increased rates adopted by the county and how they can be enacted by local law.

All school districts in Columbia County, with the exception of the New Lebanon Central School District, have veterans’ tax exemptions in place, though not at the level adopted by the county, said Ms. Booy.

Get more information on tax exemptions at the Columbia County Real Property Tax Service Agency’s website:

To contact Diane Valden email

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