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Board of Education approves Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption

| February 28, 2017

At its Feb. 27 meeting, the North Colonie Board of Education voted in favor of offering the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption, a state program that allows local governments to exempt a portion of the property values of eligible veterans from property tax bills. Since the resolution passed, the exemption will go into effect in the 2017-18 school year.

It is important to note that offering this tax exemption to the town’s veterans has no effect on the overall school tax levy, which is the total amount of local taxes the district collects to support school programs. It will, however, cause a tax shift, or a redistribution of taxes among taxpayers who do not qualify for the exemption.

Simply put, veterans applying for the exemptions will have their school taxes lowered, while non-veterans and those veterans not applying for the exemption can expect to have their property taxes increase by an estimated $10 for a home with a full-market value of $288,000.

Background and impact of alternative veterans exemption
on school tax bills

The state authorized the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption, or AVE, in the mid-1980s for municipal governments (counties, towns, etc.). In 2013, the state extended the option to school districts, which is generally available to wartime veterans who served during eligible dates as specified in the law.

Approval of the Veterans Tax Exemption in North Colonie has been a work in progress. The Board of Education held public discussions about it and sought public opinion through the school budget vote exit survey last year. The poll asked North Colonie voters for feedback on whether or not the district should offer the tax exemption for veterans, and results showed exit survey respondents were in favor of the exemption by a three-to-one margin. (See page 7 of the school budget vote exit survey report)

The law provides for a range of exemption levels from which local municipalities may choose. At each level, the value of the exemption is greater for those who served in combat or are disabled. According to recent estimates from the Town of Colonie Assessor, the impact of the veterans’ exemption at the lowest level offered would cause the local tax rate to increase by $0.06 per thousand of assessed value, which represents a .24 percent increase on the tax rate. The higher exemption value would cause the local tax rate to increase by $0.07 per thousand of assessed value or a .29 percent increase.

Resident veterans should contact the town assessor to learn more about the qualifications to receive the exemption. Applications to receive this exemption should be directed to the assessor’s office.

Eligibility criteria

  • Honorable discharge from service;
  • Active Duty status during wartime (Persian Gulf Conflict, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II) for dates specified in law;
  • Veterans receiving Expeditionary Medals or who qualify under the alternatives to “period of war” service may also qualify;
  • Generally, reservists are not eligible;
  • Certain family members of veterans may be eligible; and
  • Criteria is service-based, not income-based like some other exemptions.

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