Minnesota's disabled veterans will get break on property taxes in 2009
WILLMAR -- Disabled Minnesota veterans will get another thank-you for their service by having some, if not all, of their property taxes forgiven. The first year of the tax relief will take place in 2009. Qualifying veterans, however, must have th...
WILLMAR -- Disabled Minnesota veterans will get another thank-you for their service by having some, if not all, of their property taxes forgiven.
The first year of the tax relief will take place in 2009.
Qualifying veterans, however, must have the proper paperwork filed with their county assessor's office by July 1 of this year.
Because older veterans may not have all the necessary documents at their fingertips, Trisha Appeldorn, Kandiyohi County veterans service officer, is urging veterans to start the process early in order to meet the deadline.
Official military discharge papers and documents verifying disability status are required to participate in the program in Kandiyohi County. Those documents are available at county veteran service offices but getting them may take time, said Appeldorn, who is concerned a last-minute rush may prevent veterans from enrolling.
"We don't want to be bombarded the last week of June," she said.
Tim Falkum, Kandiyohi County assessor, said his office has been busy learning about the new provision and has accepted about a half-dozen applications so far. He expects more to come soon because disabled veterans recently received letters informing them about the new state law.
He's waiting for computer software to help apply the new information into the county system. "We don't know how we're going to facilitate it yet," Falkum said.
Legislation approved in the omnibus tax bill will provide "full or partial property tax exclusion" for the homesteads of veterans who have service-connected disabilities of 70 percent or more, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It's estimated that 10,000 Minnesota veterans will benefit from the provision.
The tax relief will be a welcome financial benefit for veterans who don't receive a large enough disability payment to make ends meet, said Appeldorn.
"It's a really, really good deal for veterans in our area," said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, chairman of the Agricultural, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Finance Committee.
Those with 70 percent disability will have $150,000 excluded from the market value of their homestead property.
Those with 100 percent disability will have $300,000 excluded from the market value.
For agricultural property, the exclusion will apply to the home, garage and one acre of land.
Calculating disability rates is complicated, but Appeldorn said many disabled Vietnam or Iraq war veterans in the county are at a 70 percent or higher disability level, in part because of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The hearing loss that's common for Korea war veterans, she said, is usually a 10 percent disability.
Unless veterans have 100 percent permanent disabilities, they will have to resubmit their applications to the assessor's office each year.
Reducing the property taxes of the veterans, however, means that other homeowners will be making up the difference.
"I think the impact will be minimal," said Juhnke. "And it's the right thing to do at this time."
He said it's a "good thing" to have a "real focus on veterans again."