“If you’re a disabled veteran, in almost every single jurisdiction, you can petition your local taxing authority and you can have all of your local real estate taxes waived. Some cases, they require it’s a one-time waiver; some cases, it’s an annual waiver,” said Mike Frueh, National Director of the VA Home Loan program. “That’s a fantastic benefit.”
And that benefit could save you thousands.
Property Tax ExemptionCalifornia, for instance, offers a Disabled Veterans’ Exemption for these veterans to reduce or eliminate their property tax liability. As long as the property is the veteran’s primary place of residence, the full value of the residence does not exceed $150,000, and total household income does not exceed $40,000, a 100 percent disabled veteran can claim a full property tax exemption.
Likewise, Texas offers full exemptions for veterans with a disability rating of 100 percent. The state also offers tax exemptions for a portion of the home’s assessed value for other disability ratings. For instance, a 10 to 30 percent disability rating qualifies for an exemption of $5,000 of assessed value, while a 50 to 70 percent rating qualifies for a $10,000 exemption.
However, these rates and conditions can vary by area just as they do by state, so veterans are urged to contact their local municipal tax assessors office for further information. Veterans may also refer to the table found at the end of the article.
Do You Understand Your Benefits?Unfortunately, many veterans, disabled and able alike, are often unaware of the plentiful benefits available to them. McClatchy-Tribune News reports the VA’s 2010 National Survey of Veterans, which includes a variety of questions about coverage as well as understanding of the VA benefits package, found 59 percent of respondents said “their understanding of available benefits was ‘a little’ or ‘not at all.'”
The Government Accountability Office suggests complexity as a possible factor, while others blame a disconnect in communication between the Department of Veterans Affairs and administering localities. Regardless, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer notes property exemptions in particular as crucial benefits that allow veterans to “afford a home and live stable civilian lives.”
“Despite recent affordability, a lot of occupations you find veterans working in don’t pay enough to afford a home,” Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy’s executive director, said. Especially when it comes to more disabled veterans who are unable to work altogether, the need for policy change is even greater.
“If vets can’t afford decent housing, we’ve really missed the boat,” Lubell said.
PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS BY STATE