Schumer: Veterans Not Aware of Tax Benefits

FRANKFORT – Many veterans are not applying for property tax benefits because they are not aware of them.

That's why U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said he was campaigning for greater awareness of New York's property tax exemptions for veterans. He held a press conference here Dec. 4 in Herkimer County attended by veterans, including Herkimer American Legion Post 38 Commander Howard Culver, West Canada Valley Post 1524 Commander Les Crossett and Utica Post 229 Vice Commander Jim George.

Forms and information about veterans' exemptions can be found at: http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/exemption/vetexempt.htm

Schumer pointed to a "disconnect" in communication between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and localities that administer property tax exemptions. Not every state provides property tax benefits to their veterans, but in those that do, Schumer wants the VA to make returning veterans aware.

“Nearly 6,000 veterans live in Herkimer County and too many return home from the battlefield unaware of life-changing benefits to help them buy homes and live stable civilian lives,” said Schumer. “I am launching a two-pronged plan to end the disconnect between the federal government that discharges veterans and the localities that distribute property tax credits to them, along with other deserved benefits. First, I am urging the VA to include the universal application for New York’s property tax exemption to all veterans who are discharged and considering homeownership. Second, I am asking the powerful Internet company trade association, with members like Facebook, Google and others, to find new ways to reach our younger veterans and spread awareness of federal and state veterans’ benefits who are just now getting out of the service.” 

“Whether it is an existing homeowner that has missed out on hundreds of dollars in veterans’ benefits for years, or a younger veteran that wouldn’t otherwise consider purchasing a home, I want them to know about this benefit so that they’ll jump into the market, put down roots, and give the local economy a boost,” Schumer said.

Schumer explained the existing property tax exemption in New York. Municipalities are able to provide veterans eligibility to receive this exemption from the required property tax rate and the amount of the exemption varies based on whether the veteran served in peace time or in combat and whether the veteran has a service-connected disability.

Schumer emphasized that Cold War era veterans are eligible for a 10 percent or 15 percent reduction in the assessed value of their home while veterans who served in a time of war can receive a 15 percent reduction in assessed value.

Additionally, Veterans who served in combat zones (including recipients of expeditionary medals) are entitled to an additional 10 percent reduction and veterans with a service-connected disability can receive an additional reduction equal to one-half of their service-connected disability. For example, a returning veteran who served in combat in Afghanistan with a 20 percent service connected disability is entitled to a total of a 35 percent property assessment reduction, which would save nearly $350 a year on a home valued at $100,000 in Herkimer County.