LAW REVIEW 1124
Federal and State laws may define
‘Veteran Status’ differently
By Captain Samuel F. Wright, JAGC, USN
6.0—Military Service and Tax Laws
Q: I stayed in
the Army Reserve for 28 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2000. I performed inactive duty training (drills)
every month and annual training every year, and I was available for
mobilization, although I was never mobilized.
I just turned 60 last year and started drawing my Army Reserve retired
My state has a tax break on property tax for veterans
who are 60 or older. When I turned 60
last year, I applied for the break. The
state told me that I am not a “veteran” and that I am not entitled to this tax
break. The tax break would save me about
$500. I am annoyed by my state telling
me that my military service does not count and that I am not a veteran.
I understand that ROA has been pushing for federal
legislation that would give “veterans’ status” to folks like me. What is the status of that effort? How would that legislation apply to me with
respect to this state tax break?
A: ROA has been pushing federal legislation to give
“veteran status” under federal law to folks like you. We were disappointed that the bill got
sidetracked at the end of the 111th Congress (2009-10). We are optimistic that the legislation will
be reintroduced and will pass during the 112th Congress
(2011-12). We will keep the readers
informed of progress on this issue.
The legislation being
considered by Congress would not make you a “veteran” for purposes of this
state property tax break. That question
is governed by state law, not federal law.
I suggest that you bring this issue to the attention of your ROA
department president and department judge advocate. Perhaps your ROA department could work with
other military and veterans organizations in your state to get your state
legislature to amend the state law definition of “veteran” for purposes of this
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