Veterans have made significant sacrifices to serve our country and protect our freedoms. As a way of showing gratitude for their service, many states offer tax exemptions and other benefits to veterans. In New York, veterans may be eligible for a variety of tax exemptions and deductions, including property tax exemptions, income tax exemptions, and sales tax exemptions. These benefits can help ease the financial burden for veterans and their families. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the various tax exemptions available to veterans in New York, eligibility requirements, and how to apply for these benefits.
Eligibility Criteria For Veterans Tax Exemptions In NY
To be eligible for the Veterans Exemption, you must meet all veteran status, residency, and ownership requirements.
You must be one of the following:
- A veteran who served during a Qualified Service period of war or conflict
- The spouse of a qualified veteran
- The unremarried surviving spouse of a deceased qualified veteran
- The parent of a qualified veteran who died in the line of duty (Gold Star parent)
Qualified Service Periods
The veteran must have served during one of these periods of war or conflict:
- Persian Gulf Conflict (August 2, 1990 to Present), including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
- Vietnam War (November 1, 1955 to May 7, 1975)
- Korean War (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946)
- World War I (April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918)
- Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 to April 5, 1917)
The property must be your primary residence. A primary residence is the dwelling unit in which the owner actually resides and maintains a continuous and physical presence. This means you must live there most of the year and it must be the address where you are registered to vote.
You are not eligible for the Veterans Exemption if your property is controlled by:
- Redevelopment Company
- Limited-Profit Housing Company
- Limited Dividend Housing Company
- Housing Development Fund Company
The property must be owned by a veteran, the spouse of a veteran, or the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran. If the property is a life estate or owned by a trust, you must provide additional documentation with your application.
Life Estates, Trusts, and LLCs
If you hold a life estate in the property, only the person with the life estate is the owner for Veterans Exemption eligibility purposes. If the body of the most recent deed says, “Retained life estate,” the person retaining the life estate can apply and receive the exemption if they meet the eligibility requirements.
A trust is an arrangement that allows an individual or group to manage property and financial assets. A beneficiary or trustee is the person designated as the recipient of funds or property. If the property is owned by a trust, only the qualifying beneficiary (trustee) can apply for the exemption. The beneficiary should submit a copy of the trust with the application. The name of the beneficiary/trustee will be found within the trust documents which should specifically state who has the right to live on the property.
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business, regardless of the number of owners or their relationship to each other. Property owned by LLCs and other businesses are not eligible for personal exemptions or abatements.
Types Of Veterans Tax Exemptions
The Alternate Veterans Exemption and the Qualified Funds Exemption are the two different forms of property tax exemptions that the City provides to veterans. Based on the information and supporting documentation you submit with your application, the Department of Finance will establish your eligibility and the benefit(s) for which you are qualified.
Alternative Veterans Exemption
You may qualify for the Alternative Veterans Exemption if you are a:
- Veteran of a foreign war
- Expeditionary medalist
- Honorable dischargee
- Other-Than-Honorable Dischargee or a General Under Honorable Conditions Dischargee qualified under the Restoration of Honor Act.
- Spouse, widow, or widower of a veteran
- Gold Star parent (the parent of a child who died in the line of duty while serving during one of the Qualified Service periods)
Eligible Funds Exemption
The Eligible Funds Exemption is for veterans who purchased property using “eligible funds,” including pensions, bonuses, insurance, and mustering out pay. The property doesn’t have to be the primary residence of the veteran.
Cold War Veterans Exemption
New York State also offers veterans the Cold War Veterans Exemption. Learn more about the exemption and how to apply on the State’s website.
Application Process For Veterans Tax Exemptions In NY
You can complete the application and upload your documents online. You’ll need to log in or create an account first.
Filing online will allow you to:
- Save your progress so you can come back to a partially completed application later
- View the status of submitted applications
- Get electronic notifications when your application is submitted, received, and processed or if additional information is required
- Submit additional documents
To apply, you must complete an application and provide all required documents.
Mail your application and documents to:
NYC Department of Finance
P.O. Box 311
Maplewood, NJ 07040-0311
If you send your application by certified mail, your certified mail receipt will be signed, dated, and returned to you.
Once an exemption application is received by the Department of Finance (DOF), they will send you an acknowledgment letter. They will review it and send you a decision letter or a letter requesting additional information within 90 days.
You must provide copies of documents proving veteran status with your application.
Include copies of the following:
- DD214 or its equivalent
- Separation papers
and, if applicable:
- Veterans Administration award letter, if the veteran has a disability
- Department of Veteran Affairs Service Connect Disability Rating, if the veteran has a disability
- Marriage certificate, if you’re a spouse applying for the exemption based on the military service of the veteran and the veteran isn’t on the deed
- Death certificate, if you’re an unmarried surviving spouse or a Gold Star parent (the parent of a child who died in the line of duty)
- Letter from NYS Division of Veterans’ Services stating that the veteran meets the character of discharge criteria for the benefits and services listed in the Restoration of Honor Act
To learn how to request DD214, separation papers, and other military personnel records go to the Military Discharge or Separation Documents page.
If applicable, you must also provide copies of documents proving ownership and residency.
- Co-ops: stock certificate
- Life estates: life estate (if not recorded on the deed)
- Trusts: trust agreement
- Property willed to an owner: last will and testament, probate or court order
- Owner receiving medical care in a health care facility: documentation from the health care facility
Benefits Of Veterans Tax Exemptions In NY
The veterans’ tax exemptions in New York State offer numerous benefits to eligible veterans. These benefits are designed to recognize the sacrifices made by veterans in service to their country and to help them transition back into civilian life. Here are some of the benefits of veterans tax exemptions in NY:
- Reduced Property Taxes – One of the most significant benefits of veterans’ tax exemptions is the reduction in property taxes. Eligible veterans can receive a reduction in the assessed value of their property, which can result in significant savings on their property tax bill.
- Financial Relief – Veterans who are struggling financially may find that the tax exemptions provide much-needed relief. With lower property tax bills, veterans can save money that can be used for other expenses, such as healthcare, education, or housing.
- Increased Quality of Life – Lower property taxes can also help veterans maintain a higher quality of life. With more money available for living expenses, veterans can enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle, including better housing, healthcare, and other necessities.
- Support for Families – Some veterans tax exemptions in NY also extend to surviving spouses and family members, providing additional financial support to those who have lost a loved one in service to their country.
- Recognition of Service – Veterans tax exemptions also serve as a form of recognition for the sacrifices that veterans have made for their country. The tax exemptions demonstrate that the state of New York values the contributions of its veterans and is committed to supporting them in their transition back to civilian life.
Veteran’s tax exemptions can also help veterans remain in their homes and communities. By reducing property taxes, veterans can afford to stay in the homes that they love, and remain connected to their communities. This can be especially important for veterans who are struggling with the transition back to civilian life, as it provides them with a sense of stability and continuity.
The veterans’ tax exemptions in New York State offer numerous benefits to eligible veterans. These benefits include reduced property taxes, financial relief, increased quality of life, support for families, recognition of service, and the ability to remain in their homes and communities. Veterans who are eligible for these exemptions should take advantage of them, as they can provide significant assistance in their transition back to civilian life.
Challenges Facing Veterans Tax Exemptions In NY
While the veteran’s tax exemptions in New York State offer many benefits to eligible veterans, there are also challenges facing the program. Here are some of the challenges that affect veterans’ tax exemptions in NY:
- Lack of Awareness – One of the biggest challenges facing veterans’ tax exemptions in NY is a lack of awareness among eligible veterans. Many veterans are unaware of the program or how to apply for it, which can prevent them from receiving the benefits they are entitled to.
- Varying Eligibility Requirements – Eligibility requirements for veterans’ tax exemptions vary depending on the county in which the veteran lives. This can create confusion and make it difficult for veterans to know if they are eligible for the program.
- Administrative Burdens – Applying for veterans’ tax exemptions can be a complex process, requiring veterans to provide extensive documentation and navigate a complicated application process. This can be especially challenging for veterans who are dealing with health or financial issues.
- Funding Constraints – The cost of providing veterans tax exemptions can be significant, and funding for the program may be limited in some counties. This can create disparities in benefits between counties and make it difficult to ensure that all eligible veterans receive the support they need.
- Changing Regulations – Regulations governing veterans’ tax exemptions may change over time, which can create uncertainty and make it difficult for veterans to know if they are still eligible for the program.
To address these challenges, efforts are underway to increase awareness of veterans tax exemptions among eligible veterans, streamline the application process, and ensure that funding is available to support the program. However, there is still work to be done to ensure that all eligible veterans are able to access the benefits they deserve.