NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle Board of Education will be among the first school districts in New York State to consider offering school property tax exemptions to veterans under a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month.
The law amends real property tax law, in relation to authorizing certain exemptions from school district real property for veterans and Gold Star Parents.
Board Member Jeffrey Hastie raised the issue at last night's board meeting.
Hastie requested that the administration research the new law and report back to the board by the time of the next meeting on January 28th, noting that similar tax exemption requests for local and county taxes must be filed by March 1st.
"To move forward on veterans tax exemptions we will need to hold a public hearing," said Hastie. "We do not want to approve the exemptions but miss the deadline to file."
Board President David Lacher initially expressed a desire to get an estimate of what the tax exemptions would cost the District but indicated that he would be supportive of the exemptions if there was no cost to the District.
Under the new law, the amount of the exemptions would be redistributed across the tax base with no impact on the amount of money received by the school district.
No board members or administration officials expressed concerns or opposition with some expressing outright support.
"This exemption would appear to be a small statement of appreciation that our school district can make to the city's most worthy veterans." said interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff.
S.1199 was sponsored by State Senator David Carlucci, an Independent Democrat of the 38th district (Rockland County, parts of Orange County) and co-sponsored by five other state legislators including State Senator George Latimer of the 37th district, a Democrat representing parts of Westchester County including New Rochelle.
New York State property tax laws have for many years provide partial property tax exemptions to qualified veterans of the United States Military but school taxes were not included.
The City of New Rochelle currently offers 50% of the maximum
the maximum allowed veterans exemptions.
"We have offered the Veterans exemption for many years," said City Manager Chuck Strome.
School taxes in New Rochelle account for roughly two-thirds of resident's property tax bill, more than four times larger than the municipal property tax, making the extension of the veterans exemption to school taxes a significant benefit to those who have served in the military and Gold Star Parents.
Details on the new law and previously existing tax exemptions for veterans follow:
Bill S1199-2013 "authorizes the governing body of a school district, after public hearings and adoption of a resolution, to grant eligible veterans an exemption from their school taxes".
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, New York State property tax laws provide partial property tax exemptions to qualified veterans of the United States Military. Unfortunately, this exemption is not applicable to school taxes. As a result, veterans receiving this benefit must pay back the school tax portion which can be as much as four hundred dollars for an average single family homeowner. Given the incredible sacrifices made by our military personnel, it is only fitting that we extend the veteran's property tax credits to school taxes.
There are three different property tax exemptions available to veterans who have served in the U. S. Armed Forces, including veterans who have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Obtaining a veterans' exemption is not automatic - if you're an eligible veteran, you must submit the initial exemption application form to your assessor. The deadline in most communities is March 1 - please confirm the date with your assessor.
Whichever exemption a veteran chooses, it will apply only to to county, city, town, and village taxes; it does not apply to school district and special district taxes.
You can only receive one of the three exemptions listed below.
Alternative Veterans' Exemption
- Available only on residential property of a veteran who has served during a designated time of war, or who has received an expeditionary medal
- Currently available in over 95 percent of the county, city, town, and village taxing jurisdictions across the state. The remainder of these jurisdictions may choose to offer this exemption in the future
- Veteran applicants should check with the assessor or clerk in the municipalities in which they respectively reside to see whether the alternative veterans'™ exemption is offered
- Authorized by Real Property Tax Law, Section 458-a
Cold War Veterans' Exemption
- Available only on residential property of a veteran who served during the Cold War period
- Counties, cities, towns, and villages have the option to offer this exemption to qualified veterans
- Check with your assessor or clerk to see whether the Cold war Veterans' exemption is offered
- Authorized by Real Property Tax Law, Section 458-b
Eligible Funds Exemption
- Provides a partial exemption
- Applies to property that a veteran or certain other designated person purchases. Such owners must purchase the property with pension, bonus or insurance monies
The specific benefits break down as follows:
Benefits Alternative Veterans' Exemption
- 15% reduction in assessed value to veterans who served during a time of war
- additional 10% 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)
- percentage-level benefits are subject to maximum dollar limits set by each taxing jurisdiction
Benefits Cold War Veterans' Exemption
- 10 or 15 % reduction in assessed value (as adopted by the taxing jurisdiction)
- additional reduction is available to a veteran who incurs a service-connected disability, equal to one-half of the service-connected disability rating Cold War period
- Percentage-level benefits are subject to maximum dollar limits set by each taxing jurisdiction
- Exemption is limited to 10 years in duration; disability exemption benefit portion has no time limit
There is also…
Eligible Funds Exemption
The Eligible Funds Exemption reduces the assessed value of a property that a veteran purchased with "eligible funds" (typically up to a maximum of $5,000) that the veteran received upon discharge from active duty.
- a veteran's pension
- bonus or insurance monies (or dividends or refunds on such insurance)
- compensation paid to prisoners of war
- mustering out pay, etc.
CORRECTION: The original article stated in error that the City of New Rochelle offers veterans the maximum tax exemption under the law. The City has offered 50% of the maximum allowable amount since 1980.