Veteran and Disabled Veteran Exemptions
There are two provisions that can help reduce property taxes for qualifying veterans and their spouses. The Veteran Exemption applies to veterans who own very limited property. The Disabled Veteran Exemption applies to veterans with service-connected disabilities.
The California Constitution provides a property tax exemption of $4,000 for honorably discharged veterans or the spouse or pensioned parent of a deceased, honorably discharged veteran.
To be eligible, an unmarried veteran must have assets valued at no more than $5,000. A married veteran or a veteran's surviving unmarried spouse must have assets valued at no more than $10,000 in order to be eligible. Thus, a veteran who owns a home would most likely not qualify for the veteran's exemption.
Disabled Veteran's Exemption
The California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code section 205.5 provides a property tax exemption for the primary residence of a disabled veteran (or the unmarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran) who, because of an injury incurred in military service:
- Is blind in both eyes, or
- Has lost the use of two or more limbs, or
- Has a 100% service-connected disability rating by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
There are two levels of the Disabled Veterans' Exemption; a basic exemption and a low-income exemption:
Both exemption and income eligibility amounts are compounded annually by an inflation factor. Please contact our office for the current amounts.
Filing Requirements and Deadlines
The claim form, titled Claim for Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption (BOE-261-G), must be filed with the county assessor where your property is located. Your application must also include:
- Your dated letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) (or from the military service which discharged you), certifying that you have a service-connected disability rating of 100 percent or are being compensated at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability; and
- The letter must include the effective date of your 100 percent rating; and
- Your DD-214, discharge papers, or other proof that character of service was under a condition that is other than dishonorable (i.e., honorable, general (under honorable condition), other than honorable, or bad conduct).
For the basic disabled veteran's exemption, you need only file once. Once granted, the exemption is continuous unless you become ineligible because:
- The property is no longer being used as your primary residence (sold or rented), or
- Title to the property in which the qualified claimant resides is no longer in the name of the veteran, the veteran's spouse, or the unmarried surviving spouse, or
- You are no longer considered totally disabled as defined in Revenue and Taxation Code section 205.5, or
- You, as the surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran, have remarried, or
- The property is altered so that it is no longer a dwelling.
For the low-income disabled veteran's exemption, annual filing is required to certify that your yearly household income for the prior calendar year does not exceed the maximum allowable income, as calculated, for the ensuing fiscal year.
To receive 100 percent of the basic or low-income exemption as of the date the claimant or the property qualifies, the initial claim must be filed between a qualifying event date and on or before the following January 1, or 90 days after the event date, whichever is later.
- Purchase date of a principal place of residence by a qualified claimant, provided residency is established within 90 days of purchase
- USDVA notice date to veteran of a 100 percent rating
- USDVA notice date to surviving spouse that veteran's death was due to a service-connected injury or disease
- Claimant re-establishes residency at a they own
For the low-income exemption only, a claim must be filed with your county assessor each year. Following the initial claim, subsequent annual filing periods are as follows:
- Between January 1 and February 15 to receive 100 percent of the exemption
- Between February 16 and December 10 to receive 90 percent of the exemption
- Any time after December 10 of the current year to receive 85 percent of the exemption