Attention veterans: A change in state law has cleared the way for more disabled veterans to qualify for a property tax benefit.
Legislation that took effect at the start of this year makes a significant change to the deduction for totally disabled veterans and veterans who are at least 62 years old with a partial disability.
This deduction totals $12,480. For a taxpayer with a home assessed at $140,000, this could mean a tax bill savings ranging from about $160 to more than $225.
But to qualify, the assessed value of a veteran’s property has had to be no more than $143,160. It’s likely that many veterans, even if they meet all other criteria, have been disqualified due to that assessed value limit. For example, the median AV of a home in Valparaiso this year is about $174,000.
And given that we have seen a general increase in property values, we know there are other veterans in the same situation as Tom (not his real name). Tom is a Porter County veteran who received the totally disabled deduction for several years but lost it when his home’s value jumped to just over the threshold. As a result, he will pay more in property taxes this year.
The good news for Tom and others like him is that state law has now increased the assessed value limit to $175,000 for property taxes beginning in 2018. (A bill now pending in the Indiana Legislature would further change the criteria by eliminating the AV limit altogether.)
In response to the change in state law, the Porter County Auditor’s Office is making a priority effort this year to assist eligible veterans. For one, we have just launched an in-house research project in which we are delving into several years of tax records looking for veterans like Tom -- veterans who used to have this deduction but who lost it when their property’s assessment increased beyond the limit.
Once we identify those who might qualify, the Auditor’s Office will send out letters with information on how to determine eligibility and how to re-file. Disabled veterans have through the end of this year to complete their application, which must be filed in the Auditor’s Office.
We are also trying to get the word out to disabled veterans who never qualified for this deduction before because their AV was too high. Outreach efforts are underway, including an informational workshop planned during Money Smart Week®, April 22-29.
If you are a disabled veteran or know of a disabled veteran who might qualify, please share the word and contact us. We in the Porter County Auditor’s Office will be more than pleased to help veterans determine if they qualify. And if they do, we can assist them with the application process so that they may begin receiving this tax benefit on their bills next year.