Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation that authorizes school districts to grant eligible veterans property tax exemptions. The district would have to hold a public hearing and adopt a resolution to grant exemptions.
The legislation, which took effect immediately, was first proposed in 2006. It passed the Assembly several times and died in the Senate before this year.
A school district can adopt a local law to include Gold Star parents within the definition of qualified homeowner, provided the property is their primary residence. A Gold Star parent is someone who has lost a son or a daughter who died while in military service.
Under existing state law, qualified veterans can receive partial tax exemptions under municipal law, but that doesn’t apply to school taxes or special district taxes. Veterans who receive this benefit must pay back the school tax portion, which can be as much as $400 for an average single family homeowner. In many cases, school taxes comprise about two-thirds of a total property tax bill, according to the authors of the legislation.
There are three existing property tax exemptions for veterans in New York. Eligible veterans must submit the initial exemption application form to their assessor. The deadline in most communities is March 1. Each of the exemptions is subject to maximum limits set by the municipality.
A qualified residential parcel receives an exemption equal to 15 percent of its assessed value. If a veteran can document service in a combat theater or zone, the property receives an additional exemption equal to 10 percent of its assessed value. If a veteran has received a service-connected disability rating from the Veterans’ Administration or the Department of Defense, there is an additional exemption equal to one-half of the disability rating, multiplied by the assessed value of the property.