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Home News-Telegram News Disabled veterans getting big break on property taxes

Disabled veterans getting big break on property taxes

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Disabled veterans in Texas are about to get a big tax break, thanks to a constitutional amendment passed two years ago and recent legislation signed by the governor.

A bill signed by Gov. Rick Perry on June 19 will let veterans with 100 percent disability claim an exemption that reduces their property tax liability on their homesteaded property by the same amount, according to Joe Reid Scott, Hopkins County Veterans service officer.

In other words, they won’t have to pay any school, city or county taxes on their homes.

“This new law will affect many veterans of Hopkins County,” said Scott, a retired U.S. Navy captain.

According to the state comptroller’s office, the legislation provides an exemption of the total appraised value of the homesteads of Texas veterans who have received a 100 percent disability rating or are considered unemployable by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new law is effective for the 2009 tax year, said Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs, and swift action is necessary to update local property tax rolls and ensure eligible veterans receive the new tax break.

“Texas has done the right thing by providing property tax relief for our military men and women who have served their country and paid a heavy price,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said.

The exemption only applies to property on which the veteran declared a homestead exemption.

“The veteran would have to take his VA award letter to the Hopkins County Tax Appraisal District to prove his 100 percent service connected disability,” Scott said.

Veterans may also need to contact their mortgage lenders to adjust their escrow payments.

An analysis by the state’s Legislative Budget Board estimates that the new law will reduce property tax revenue to all Texas school districts, cities and counties by $11.4 million in fiscal year 2011, rising to $17.3 million in 2014.

Ultimately, however, the tax cut shouldn’t impact local school districts’ tax rates. The Legislative Budget Board report states the mechanics of the school finance system would shift those costs to the state.

A constitutional amendment passed by voters in November of 2007 gave Texas legislators the power to offer the tax break. The measure hadn’t been implemented until this year, however, because the Legislature did not convene in 2008.

Applicants will need to fill out Texas Property Tax Form 50-764, “Application for Residence Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veteran with 100 Percent Disability” and return it to the appraisal district office. The form is available at the appraisal office at 109 College St. Calls 903-885-2173 for more information.

The form can also be downloaded from the state comptroller of public accounts website at:

www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/

taxforms/02-form06.html

 

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