Posted by Carmen Garcia

Property Tax Exemption by States for Qualified Veterans

Property Tax Exemption by States for Qualified Veterans

The nation owes a debt of gratitude to veterans, yet sometimes these heroes come back home and pay huge taxes, which places a significant burden on them. This realization led to a seven-year countrywide effort in the United States to reduce the financial obligations on disabled veterans. The nationwide efforts led to the successful implementation of tax exemptions for qualified veterans in almost every US state. Disabled veterans in virtually all jurisdictions need to petition their local authority to have their local real estate taxes waived. 

The extent of waivers varies for different cases, as in some cases, it may be a one-time waiver or an annual waiver: regardless of the type of waiver, the veterans can save thousands of dollars. Some states offer exceptions only for veterans. A good example is California, allowing qualified veterans to get property tax exemptions on their first $196,262 of their primary residence if the total household income doesn't exceed $40,000. The veteran is completely disabled from his service. 

But the situation in every home is different, so here are some things to note about property tax exemptions generally:

  • Taxpayers may need to renew their exemptions benefits annually. 

  • The rules on exemptions are not the same in all counties and states

  • Not every veteran or homeowner qualifies for such exemptions. 

  • The most common exemptions are for veterans, disabled veterans, and those over the age of 65. 

Sadly, not all veterans and disabled are aware of these benefits available to them, which is why articles like this one are quite timely. The system's complexities may explain why some veterans don't know about these benefits or haven't taken advantage of them. But some people blame the miscommunication between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the localities for the lack of action from disabled veterans. 

Some property tax exemptions for veterans focus on the disability and not on the applicant's status as a veteran. In contrast, some exemptions may be based on having a VA-rated disability. VA-Rated disability refers to the VA's percentage of a veteran's service-connected conditions, and the ratings reflect the severity of the veteran's needs. The higher the rating, the higher the compensation and the higher the tax exemption. Some states may require the veteran to register for a particular tax benefit, and some others request an annual recertification. 

However, not all tax exemptions or reliefs apply to all veterans with a disability, as the qualifying criteria must align with the particular state. Tax laws are also subject to change. Hence, veterans should discuss their state's tax exemptions for that tax year and work with a professional to ensure that the previous year's exemptions and tax benefits apply in the current tax year. 

For example, in Alaska, VA-rated veterans at 50% disabled or more have tax exemptions on the first $150,000 of assessed valuation. But in Florida, the disabled veteran may get a tax discount on primary residence based on the amount of the applicant's VA-rated. In Hawaii, veterans' property tax exemption makes it possible for a disabled veteran to apply for a primary residence. 

So while the nation has made progress with the property tax exemptions for veterans, the veterans in question must become conversant with the state's laws, but in some cases, the veteran may not be fully aware of these laws (age, lack of access, or just misinformation). The veteran must get professional help to harness the values of property tax exemption in his states. The exemption amounts vary from State to State and across different cities, so veterans should contact the local municipal tax assessor or Carmen Garcia, for more details.



Carmen Garcia
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