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July 22, 2017

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Advisory vote on Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption is Dec. 6

Oct. 18 & 25, 2016; updated Dec. 1

 

About the NYS Alternative Veterans Exemption (AVE) and school taxes

  • The state first authorized the AVE in 1984 for municipal property taxes. Gov. Cuomo signed a law in 2013 to permit 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.

  • All taxpayers not getting the veterans exemption pay the taxes of exempt veterans.

  • The increase in taxes due to the veterans exemption would be in addition to the school taxes normally paid and can exceed the tax cap. The increase would be at least .81% and could be more.

  • The increase in taxes is based on the number of veterans who receive the exemption. More exempt veterans means a bigger increase for non-exempt taxpayers.

  • The chart provided below is based on the number of veterans who have already applied for the exemption. If more veterans apply for this exemption, the taxes for persons not applying would increase proportionally. DCS has no way of knowing how many veterans will apply, so is unable to project the highest amount of taxes you will have to pay.

  • Each homeowner needs to review his or her property's value to determine how much his/her taxes will go up, at a minimum, due to the veterans exemption (an increase which is separate from the regular school budget process).

  • Homeowners are currently paying the municipal property taxes for the veterans who already get that exemption.

  • The state is not funding the veterans exemption, unlike the STAR exemption.

 

Background

On Oct. 11, the Duanesburg Board of Education approved a resolution to hold an advisory vote concerning the NYS Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption (AVE), a partial school tax exemption for military veterans that would impact all of the taxpayers in the district. The advisory vote will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 1-9 p.m. in the Duanesburg Elementary School gym.

The Board is seeking taxpayer input on whether to offer the AVE, as the exemption is not funded by the state and would cause a tax shift that 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.

What is the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption (AVE)?

The state first authorized counties, cities, towns and villages across the state to offer the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption (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.

Why is it important for non-veterans?

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.

How would the AVE affect veterans who apply for it?

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.

How is the veterans exemption calculated?

The amount of the exemption for a veteran is based on the value of the veteran's property. Likewise, the tax increase for non-exempt taxpayers can be estimated using their property's value. Local town assessors can assist with identifying a resident's property value.

The school tax impact of the AVE is distributed evenly across the residents of all seven towns that make up the school district. Due to the lack of published guidance from the state, DCS's business official has been working with school business officials from other districts to determine how the AVE is calculated. Initial information about impact varying by town was inaccurate. As more information was received and after pressing the state for assistance, it was determined that the tax increase due to the veterans exemption is to be calculated, averaged and evenly distributed among all of the non-exempt taxpayers in the school district, rather than determined on a town by town basis.

Impact of the Alternative Veterans Exemption on Tax Bills on Non-AVE households

If the minimum AVE had been in place during the 2016-17 school year, based on the number of veterans in the district who currently receive a partial property (municipal) tax exemption in the district, and current school tax rates, tax bills of non-AVE households would have been impacted as follows*:

chart

*It is important to note that these numbers are based only on the number of veterans who have applied for and currently receive the AVE on their municipal taxes. The number of veterans reflected in this chart does NOT include all eligible veterans in the district, which is higher. In addition, the total number of eligible veterans would increase if more veterans move into the school district.

What would be the tax impact on veterans if the AVE were already in place?

If the AVE exemption maximums were in place, veterans applying for the exemption could receive the following maximum exemptions:

Wartime: $6,000
Combat Zone: $10,000
Disabled (additional): $20,000

If the minimum AVE had been in place during the 2016-17 school year, based on current school tax rates, the estimated school tax exemption amounts for participating veterans would have been the following*:

Veteran Amount Exemption Chart

* Note that Disabled exemption savings are added to either the Wartime or Combat exemption, whichever is applicable to that veteran.

What happens if the Board decides to offer the AVE?

If the Duanesburg Board of Education decides to offer the Alternative Veterans Exemption (AVE), veterans with property tax exemptions already on file with their municipality would not need to reapply for an AVE school tax exemption. However, new AVE exemption applications would have to be filed with each town’s assessor by March 1, 2017 to apply to September 2017 school tax bills and by January 2018 to apply to town/village/city tax bills.

Your vote counts!

The Board of Education wants to hear from ALL residents and is holding an advisory vote to measure the level of support of the AVE. Your vote on this question is requested on Dec. 6 from 1-9 p.m. at the Duanesburg Elementary School gym.

Who can vote?

Please save the date and participate in the vote. If offered, the exemption would impact the tax bills of all DCS residents. Residents do not have to attend the community meeting to vote. To vote, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the vote date of Dec. 6.

Absentee ballot applications are available

District residents who are unable to vote in person on the designated voting day due to specific reasons such as illness, disability, or being out of town may complete an application to receive an absentee ballot. To obtain an application:

> Download the application online: download absentee ballot application
> Beginning Nov. 7, pick one up at the Central Office at 133 School Drive in Delanson between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays
> Call the district clerk at (518) 895-2279 to have one mailed to them.

Residents who would like an absentee ballot mailed to them should note that their application must be received by the district clerk at least one week before the vote date. Residents who plan to pick up a ballot should note that their application must be received by the day before the vote.

Completed absentee ballots must be received the District Clerk’s Office by 4 p.m. on the day of the vote.

Which veterans would be eligible to apply for the AVE if it were offered?

The following veterans currently can apply for an AVE on their municipal property taxes:
Persian Gulf Conflict, Aug. 2, 1990—present
Vietnam War Feb. 28, 1961—May 7, 1975
Korean War, June 27, 1950—Jan. 31, 1955
World War II, Dec. 7, 1941—Dec. 31, 1946
Operation Graphic Hand, March 1970. (Per N.Y.S. Assembly bill 6140, signed into law by Gov. Cuomo on Nov. 28, 2016, the AVE military personnel who served as members of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves who were deemed on active duty during Operation Graphic Hand are AVE eligible).

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

 

Veterans Exemption Special Edition newsletter PDF mailed in November

DOWNLOAD LEGAL-SIZE FLIER HERE

 

 


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