Public Hearing planned on Veterans’ Tax Exemption

O-A Schools has scheduled a public hearing on the topic of the Veterans’ Tax Exemption. The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19, in the large-group instruction hall (LGI), which is located just off the main lobby at Owego Free Academy, 1 Sheldon Guile Boulevard, Owego, N.Y.

The following is a description of the exemption:

The Alternative Veterans’ Exemptions is available on a veteran’s primary residence

(includes cooperative apartments where jurisdiction adopts local option to exempt).

Benefits include a 15 percent reduction in assessed value to veterans who served during a time of war; additional 10 percent reduction in assessed value to veterans serving in combat zones (includes recipients of expeditionary medals); additional reduction in assessed value to veterans who incur service‐connected disabilities, equal to one‐half of their service‐connected disability ratings (regardless of whether such veterans served in combat zones); and percentage‐level benefits are subject to maximum dollar limits set by each taxing jurisdiction.

For Alternative Veterans Exemption, time of service requirements include Persian Gulf conflict (Aug. 2, 1990 to present), Vietnam War (Feb. 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975),

Korean War (June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955), World War II (Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946), veterans who received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a Navy, Marine Corps, or Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (not Service Medal) may also qualify; World War II in the U.S. Merchant Marine; a civilian capacity during World War II in either of the following capacities: American Field Service under U. S. Armies and the U.S. Army Groups, as a flight crew and aviation ground support employee of Pan American Airlines’ contract with the Air

Transport Command; a member of the reserve component of the Armed Forces who received an honorable discharge from active duty (beyond active duty for training) but is still a member of the reserves is considered a veteran for purposes of this exemption, and is thus eligible to receive the exemption provided that such active duty was significant and full‐time (see 8 Op. Counsel SBEA No. 37) and that the veteran meets all other statutory requirements.

Veteran homeowner must hold the legal title to residential property, and it must be in the name of the veteran, spouse of a veteran, or the un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran.

The taxing jurisdiction may opt to allow the exemption in instances where title to residential property is in the name of a Gold Star Parent (defined as the parent of a child who died in the line of duty while serving in the U. S. Armed Forces during a time of war).

Legal title may also be in the name of a veteran, spouse of the veteran, un‐remarried spouse of a veteran or Gold Star Parent whenever such a person is a life tenant of the property; if title transfers to a trust, such a person becomes a trustee or beneficiary of such trust.

Under certain circumstances, this exemption applies where title is in the name of the dependent parent of the veteran or his or her child who is under 21 years of age.

Where property ownership is in the name of two or more qualified owners, the assessor combines the exemption benefits of each qualified owner on that parcel.

Residency Requirements

Exemption is only available for residential properties. If a portion of the property is in non‐residential use, the exemption can’t apply to this portion.

Property eligible for this exemption must be the primary residence of the veteran, the un‐remarried surviving spouse of a veteran or Gold Star Parent, unless that person is absent from the property for medical reasons or is in an institution.

If a veteran or other eligible owner moves to a new residence within a taxing jurisdiction that currently grants the exemption on the sold residence, and if the taxing jurisdiction allows a prorated exemption in its local laws, the exemption may transfer to the replacement residence; to continue to receive the exemption thereafter, the veteran must file a new form RP‐458‐a with the assessor on or before the next succeeding taxable status date.

If the qualifying veteran is deceased, the exemption may continue on the eligible property if the title to the property is in the name of the veteran’s un‐remarried surviving spouse, and continues to use the property as the primary residence.

If the veteran is also the un‐remarried surviving spouse of a veteran, he or she may also receive any exemption benefit to which the deceased spouse was entitled.

If both husband and wife are deceased, the exemption can continue on the property if the veteran’s dependent mother, father, child, or children under 21 have legally received the property and use it as their primary residence.

Over 75 percent of respondents indicated that their board of education and school district HAVE NOT adopted a resolution to provide the veterans exemptions authorized by Chapter 518 of the Laws of 2013.

Of districts that did not act to provide the veterans’ exemption authorized by Chapter 518 of the Laws of 2013, reasons included: public opposition (one percent), administrative decision not to pursue (26 percent), and ‘Other’ (73 percent). For those 122 school districts that gave ‘Other’ as the reason, the

following explanations were offered: 58 Not enough time to decide, scheduled for future discussion; 29 Need more information or clarification 21 Concerns about tax burden on non‐veterans; 7 Board decided not to pursue at this time; 7 Other

“Other” Reasons including:

1. Law does not allow the District to amend the exemption once it is adopted. We want that option. (2 responses)

2. Tax exemptions already in place provide enough tax relief.

3. Concern about a shifting of burden from one taxpayer to another.

4. Data on the impact of the exemption has been presented to the BoE, but they have not pushed to have it added to the agenda for a formal vote. At the moment they are content to let the issue sit. (2 responses)

5. Public and board reaction was split 50‐50.

6. Calculated effect on tax rate would add another 2 percent to tax rate increase of 4.49 percent.

Concerned budget would get voted down. May pursue for next year as Property Tax Freeze rebate could soften the blow to local taxpayers.

Please note the laws of 2014 amended the law to allow school districts to revoke or amend the exemption once it is adopted, which is responsive to two of these comments

For more information, visit on its Board of Education page. This announcement will also be on Facebook under OA Schools, the district’s page.