Veteran’s Real Property Tax Exemption
Summary of Veteran’s Exemption
- In 1985, the Alternative Veteran’s Exemption was offered for a ten-year period. However, this exemption is now considered permanent, effective July 1990.
- Exemption is based on a percentage of assessed valuation with certain maximum levels of exemption; and is limited to the primary residence of the veteran used exclusively for residential purposes of a Wartime Veteran; and is available to Honorably Discharged Veterans, or certain family members, who served during certain periods of wartime (Gold Star Parent Eligible for Exemption)
- This exemption provides for a property tax exemption of 15% of assessed valuation (maximum $18,000) to Wartime Veterans; and/or an additional 10% of assessed valuation (maximum $12,000) to those who served in a Combat Zone; and/or an additional permanent exemption (maximum $60,000) for those have permanent service-connected disability rating from the Veteran’s Administration.
Periods of Wartime
- World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean War (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War (December 22, 1961 – May 7, 1975) **
- Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – End of Hostilities)
- Merchant Marine Seamen: As a result of Legislation approved in 1989, Merchant Seamen who served during the periods of wartime, as indicated above, are entitled to receive this exemption.
- Persian Gulf Veterans: As the result of Legislation approved in July 1991, Persian Gulf Veterans are entitled to exemption if they served during the above-noted dates. Entitlement to the additional 10% Combat allowance will require verification of entitlement to the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
- ** As the result of Legislation approved in July 1993, the starting date for the Vietnam War is December 22, 1961 (previously January 1, 1963).
Additional Periods of Wartime
- Lebanon Conflict (June 1, 1983 – December 1, 1987)
- Grenada Conflict (October 23, 1983 – November 21, 1983)
- Panama Conflict (December 21, 1989 – January 21, 1991)
As the result of Legislation approved on July 24, 1991, Wartime-Status was granted to veterans of conflicts in Lebanon, Grenada, and Panama. To be entitled to exemption, veterans must have served in the area of conflict during the above-noted dates. Verification of entitlement to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for the particular conflict must be provided. This will entitle said veteran to a 25% reduction on the first $80,000 in assessed valuation.
Contact the Assessor’s Office for the complete exemption list and more information on the Veteran’s Real Real Property Tax Exemption.
Cold War Veterans’ Exemption*** Effective 2010 County Tax ***
How does the Cold War veteran’s exemption work?
The exemption provides a basic property tax exemption, 10 percent of assessed value for Town of West Seneca tax purposes and 15 percent of assessed value on Erie County taxes, to veterans who served during the Cold War period. The law also provides an additional exemption to disabled veterans, equal to one-half of their service-connected disability ratings. The basic exemption is limited to 10 years, but there is no time limit for the the disabled portion of this exemption. In both instances, the exemption is limited to the primary residence of the veteran, and is applicable only to West Seneca and Erie County taxes, not to school taxes or special district levies.
Does the Assessor automatically give the exemption to a Cold War veteran?
No. The veteran must file an Application for Veterans Exemption From Real Property Taxation, form RP-458, with the assessor by March 1st. The veteran must show a discharge or release from the U.S. Armed Forces under honorable conditions and that the service was during the Cold War period. If the veteran seeks the additional exemption available under the law, proof must be provided to show a service-connected disability.
What type of proof will be accepted?
Form DD-214, which you should have received upon separation from the service, contains some of the information the assessor needs to determine your eligibility. Other written documentation also may help to prove eligibility, such as a copy of discharge orders, VA documentation for disability rating, etc. You should also have a copy of the deed to the house or other proof that you and/or your spouse are the owners of the property.
What does the law mean by the Cold War?
The exemption is available to veterans who served on active duty (exclusive of training) in the United States armed forces between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991 and who are not currently receiving either the eligible funds or alternative veteran’s exemption.
What are the ownership requirements for the Cold War exemption?
The legal title to the property must be in the name of the veteran or the spouse of the veteran or both, or the unremarried surviving spouse of the veteran. If the property is owned by more than one qualified owner, the exemption to which each is entitled may be combined. Also, if a veteran is also the unremarried surviving spouse of a veteran, that person my also receive any exemption to which the deceased spouse was entitled.
What are the residential and occupancy requirements of the law?
The property must be exclusively for residential purposes, and must also be the primary residence of a Cold War veteran or the unremarried spouse of a Cold War veteran unless that person is absent from the property due to medical reasons or institutionalization. If a portion of the property is used for non-residential purposes, the exemption will apply only to that portion of the property that is used exclusively for residential purposes.