Note: Veterans and Military taxpayers should consult with a knowledgeable tax preparer to understand all of the tax implications associated with VA disability benefits.
The Erie County Veterans Tax Exemption
If you are a Veteran and own a home in Erie County, you may be eligible for an exemption on your local city, town, or village tax as well as your county tax. Real estate taxes frequently change in our area and we apologize in advance for any inaccuracies contained herein. Every Veteran homeowner is urged to contact their local assessor to determine the exemptions for which they qualify and to insure that they are properly applied to their property's assessment. Both the county and the municipality (city, town, and village) have ceiling caps on which the exemptions are calculated. There is no Veteran's exemption available for our local school tax.
The primary criteria that need to be met are that you were discharged under honorable conditions and that you served on active duty during a wartime period. In addition if you have a disability rating related to your service, 1/2 of that rating may be added to your Veteran's exemption (not to exceed ceiling max of 35%). The eligible wartime periods are the following:
- Persian Gulf Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (on or after August 2, 1990 - Current);
- Vietnam War (February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975);
- Korean War (June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955);
- Cold War (Served on active duty from the end of WW II to December 26, 1991)
- World War II (December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.)
The Erie County Alternative Veterans' Partial Property Tax Exemption (Real Property Tax Law, section 458-a), is available only for residential property of veterans who served during wartime or received an expeditionary medal. Erie County, the City of Buffalo and most towns and villages (municipality) within the region currently grant this alternative exemption. The alternative exemption provides a property tax exemption of 15% of assessed value to veterans who served during wartime and an additional 10% to those who served in a combat zone. The law also provides an additional exemption to disabled veterans equal to one-half of their service-connected disability ratings. Ask the assessor or the clerk of the municipality in which your residence is located to determine if the alternative exemption is in effect. The application form for the alternative exemption is RP-458-a; it must be filed with your local assessor (instructions).
The Erie County Cold War Veterans' Partial Property Tax Exemption (Real Property Tax Law, section 458-b), is available only for residential property of veterans who served during the Cold War period (see above for dates). Erie County, the City of Buffalo and some towns and villages (municipality) within the region currently grant the Cold War Tax Exemption. A reduction in the amount of property taxes paid by veterans who qualify for this exemption will be applied to those who qualify. The exemption provides a basic property tax exemption, of either 10 or 15 percent of assessed value (as adopted by the municipality) to veterans who served during the Cold War period. This exemption is not available to those veterans currently receiving either the eligible funds or alternative veterans' exemption (see above). Please be advised that a "Cold War Recognition Certificate" is no longer needed to qualify for the Cold War Tax Exemption - a copy of the veteran's discharge papers will be sufficient. The application form for the alternative exemption is RP-458-b; it must be filed with your local assessor (instructions).
ECVSA NOTE: A person applying for Erie County Veterans Partial Property Tax Exemption should bring a certified copy of the veteran's separation papers (DD Form 214) to their local tax assessor's office. You should also have a copy of the deed to the house or other proof that you and/or your spouse are the owners of the property. Other written documentation also may help to prove eligibility, such as VA documentation for disability rating, etc. Additionally, our office can help you answer any questions you may have about these benefits. You may call our office at 858-6363. To reach the Erie County Department Real Property Tax Services, please call: 858-8333.
VA Compensation and Pension Benefits Exempt from Income Taxes
If you were at least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service, you may qualify for disability compensation; and if you are a wartime veteran with limited income who was either permanently and totally disabled or over 65 years old, you may qualify for monthly pensions. Both benefits are exempt from both federal and state income tax.
ECVSA Note: Veterans interested in receiving compensation or pension payments should keep in mind that the application process through the VA may take a minimum of six months. If you have retired from active duty and submitted an application for disability compensation, you will generally begin receiving your military retirement income prior to receiving entitlement from the VA. Once the VA has granted your disability, an entitlement letter will be provided that outlines the percentage of disability and monthly compensation amount granted.