Board of Education considering Alternative Veterans Exemption
Sept. 28, 2016; updated Oct. 13, 2016
At their Sept. 27 regular meeting, the Duanesburg Board of Education discussed the New York State Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption (AVE), a partial school tax exemption for military veterans that, if offered, would impact all of the taxpayers in the district, beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
At their Oct. 11 regular meeting, the Board of Education discussed whether to offer consideration of the AVE to district residents in the form of an advisory vote. By law, the vote would be advisory only. A date of Dec. 6 is being considered. All district residents are also encouraged to attend an informational meeting about the AVE on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in Joe Bena Hall.
The Board is seeking taxpayer input on whether to offer the AVE, as the exemption would increase the school taxes of those who do not receive it. Specifically, if the AVE were offered, the tax levy (total amount of taxes collected) collected from all residents by the school district would not change, and non-veterans and veterans who do not file for the new exemption would see their school taxes increase to cover the cost of veterans’ exempted taxes.
Non-veterans and veterans who haven’t filed for the AVE for their municipal (town, village, city) taxes are currently covering the cost of that exemption when they pay those municipal taxes. If the Duanesburg Board of Education decides to offer the AVE for school taxes as well, those taxpayers would cover a share of those school taxes.
If the Board of Education decides to move forward with the AVE, all district residents would be asked to participate in an advisory vote on a date to be announced. The vote, by law, would be advisory only; the purpose of the vote would be to provide the Board of Education with information it needs to decide on whether to proceed with offering the Alternative Veterans Exemption (AVE).
The state first authorized counties, cities, towns and villages across the state to offer the AVE in 1984 to veterans who served during wartime, in a combat zone or who have a service-related disability. A law signed by Gov. Cuomo in 2013 permits school districts as well to offer the exemption, but leaves that decision up to individual school boards. The state does not provide revenue to offset the savings for veterans.
Under the AVE law, school districts are permitted to offer up to a 15 percent reduction (up to a maximum of $6,000) in the assessed property value of veterans who served during a time of war, plus 10 percent for those who served in combat zones, up to a of $10,000 maximum. Veterans could receive an additional reduction based on their service-related disabilities, up to a $20,000 maximum. These amounts reflect the minimum exemption under the law.
School tax rates are affected primarily by property assessments, as well as each town’s equalization rate, which is a percentage level set by New York state that compares property assessment in towns to real estate market value. A veteran’s town equalization rate would be applied to the exemption amount when computing his or her school tax bill.
For detailed information about AVE eligibility requirements, visit the New York State Department of Tax and Finance website at https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/exemption/altvetexempt.htm.