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North Colonie Board of Education considers Veterans Tax Exemption for 2017-18 school year

| February 29, 2016

For many weeks, the North Colonie Board of Education has participated in thoughtful and detailed conversations about the possibility of offering local veterans a partial property tax exemption similar to what municipalities already offer through the Alternative Veterans Exemption.

History and impact of Alternative Veterans Exemption on school tax bills

This state program, being considered by several area school districts, allows local governments to exempt a portion of the property values of eligible veterans from property 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.

The state does not provide offsetting revenue to those districts that enact the exemption. This means that if the exemption is approved, there would be some redistribution of taxes among existing district property owners.

For example, at the minimum exemption level, the owner of a house assessed at $150,000 in Colonie would have paid an estimated $9.57 more in taxes in the current year (2015-16) if the exemption had been in place.

It is important to note if the district moves forward with the exemption, it does not impact the total amount of local taxes the district raises to support school programs, otherwise known as the tax levy. The redistribution of the levy would take place when school tax bills are calculated late in the summer.

The law provides for a range of exemption levels from which local governments may choose. At each level, the value of the exemption is greater for those who served in combat or are disabled.

The chart below indicates the estimated savings for eligible veterans residing in the district.

 Savings for eligible veterans
  Wartime Combat Disabled
Exemption amount $6,000 $10,000  +$20,000*
Town of Colonie  -$102 -$107 -$339

In order to come to a mindful, informed decision, the Board of Education would like to gather input from the community as a whole, through an exit poll at this year’s annual budget vote. The results of the poll will give the board the information they need to further discuss potential implementation of the tax exemption in the 2017-18 school year.

*Disabled exemption savings are added to either the Wartime or Combat exemption, whichever is applicable. For example, a veteran with a Wartime and Disabled exemption in Colonie would save $441 total ($102 for Wartime and $339 for Disabled).

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