Disabled Veterans' Discount and Exemptions
There are three state laws that can provide property tax relief for Disabled Veterans. The first is a discount on property taxes that became effective Jan. 1, 2007. The second law is an exemption of up to $5,000 for qualifying ex-service members with disabilities of more than 10 percent. The third is a total property tax exemption on homesteaded property for honorably discharged veterans with service-connected total and permanent disabilities.
On Nov. 7, Florida voters approved a change to the Florida State Constitution amending Section 6 of Article VII. What has become commonly known as Amendment 7 provides an additional discount in ad valorem taxes for certain partially (10 percent - 90 percent) disabled veterans. Veterans who qualify may receive a percentage discount on homestead property taxes equal to the percentage of the veteran's permanent service connected disability as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Below are criteria and guidelines:
1. Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Discount on Homesteaded Property:
This new law is outlined in Section 6 (g) of Article VII of the State Constitution and provides a discount on taxes of homesteaded property (not an exemption on value) for veterans who meet the following criteria with documented proof:
• Have an honorable discharge from military service.
• Are at least 65 years old.
• Are partially disabled with a permanent service-connected disability. All or a portion of such disability must be combat related.
• Were a resident of Florida at the time they entered the military.
Veterans who qualify may receive a percentage discount on homestead property taxes equal to the percentage of the veteran's permanent service-connected disability as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This constitutional provision took effect Dec. 7, 2006, and first affects taxes levied on the Jan. 1, 2007, tax roll.
Filing Instructions for the Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Discount on Homesteaded Property:
Documentation that the applicant will need to submit to the Property Appraiser is as follows:
• Proof of age as of January 1 of the year to which the discount will apply.
• Evidence that the applicant was a resident of Florida at the time of entering military service of the United States. (DD-214 form may satisfy this requirement.)
• An official letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stating the percentage of the veteran's service-connected disability.
• Evidence identifying all or a portion of the disability as combat-related, and
• Proof of the veteran's honorable discharge.
Applications are due in the Property Appraiser's Office by March 1. However, late applications for the 2007 Tax Roll can still be made through early September. It is recommended that applicants first contact the city's Division of Military Affairs and Veterans Services to have documentation of eligibility verified or a request made for these documents.
According to the Amendment, the requirements for the discount are:
1. Proof of age of 65 or older
2. Proof of Florida residency at the time of entering military service
3. An official letter from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (USDVA) stating the percentage of the veteran's service-connected disability
4. Evidence that reasonably identifies a combat-related disability
5. Documentation of the veteran's honorable discharge
Veterans discharged after Jan. 1, 1950, should be able to provide two documents which would qualify them in most cases. These documents are:
1. DD-214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
Will satisfy the following requirements above: #1, #2, and #5. Additionally, #4 may be satisfied if the applicant was awarded the Purple Heart
2. Disability Rating letter from the USDVA (original rating and any increased ratings, if applicable)
Will satisfy requirement #3 and may satisfy #4 if it indicates a combat-related disability
3. Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) letter
Will satisfy #4 for those who retired from military service and who have been awarded CRSC from their branch of service.
Applications for the discount should be made to the property appraiser in the county where the veteran's homestead property is located. However, the applicant should first go to the Military Affairs and Veteran Services Division of their local county property appraiser to have their documentation of eligibility verified (or a request made for these documents if the veteran does not have them). A Veteran Services Officer will then furnish the applicant with a letter to the property appraiser's office verifying that he/she is eligible for the discount. The applicant has until March 1 to apply for the discount without a late filing penalty payment. Application can still be made for the 2007 tax year from March 2 until early September by paying a $15 late fee.
2. Exemption for Disabled Ex-Service Member or Surviving Spouse:
Florida Statute 196.24 provides an exemption of up to $5,000 off the property value of an ex-service member who is a permanent resident of Fl, was discharged honorably and who has a disability of at least 10 percent from wartime service or misfortune.
The un-remarried surviving spouse of such a disabled ex-service member who, on the date of the disabled ex-service member's death, had been married to the disabled ex-service member for at least five years is also entitled to the exemption.
Filing Instructions for the $5,000 Disabled Veteran Exemption: You must present a certificate from the U.S. Government or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, along with a signed request for the exemption and proof of Florida residence to our office. There is no additional application or form to fill out. This can be handled in person, by mail, by e-mail or by fax if filing on time. If filing late, you must appear in person.
3. Exemption for Permanent and Totally Disabled Veterans:
This law is outlined in Florida Statute 196.081. Any honorably discharged veteran with service-connected total and permanent disability is entitled to exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes. Persons entitled to this exemption must have been a permanent resident of this state as of January 1 of the year of assessment. Under certain circumstances the benefit of this exemption can carry over to the veteran's spouse in the event of their death. Consult your appraiser for details.
Filing Instructions for the Permanent and Totally Disabled Veterans Exemption
If filing for the first time, please submit proof of your service-connected disability, such as a letter from the U.S. Government or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to the Property Appraiser's Office in your county of residence.
THANK YOU for your service to our country!