Canjo approves veterans tax benefit

CANAJOHARIE — The Canajoharie Central School Board of Education approved a new tax exemption on Nov. 9 that would lower taxes for eligible veterans effective with the September school tax bill.

Veterans must apply with their town assessor by March 1. The amount of the exemption is dependent on each town’s assessment rate.

The decision followed a survey of taxpayers by the school district when it presented its budget in May that showed “our community was overwhelmingly in favor of it” and after a public hearing on Nov. 9, said district Superintendent Deborah Grimslaw.

“We believe it was a way to honor our veterans’ service to our country,” she said.

Since 1984, county, town and village leaders across the state have been authorized to offer the so-called Alternative Veterans Exemption, giving military veterans who served during war time, in a combat zone or who have a service-related disability a partial property tax exemption on their local taxes for their primary residence.

In December 2013, the law was amended to permit school districts to offer the exemption, as well. Whether or not the exemption is offered in any given community is up to the local school board.

Implementing a tax exemption causes a redistribution of taxes among taxpayers, or a tax shift. Exemptions do not affect the total amount of money a district needs to raise—the tax levy.

The estimated amount of taxes that would be shifted from veterans to the rest of the community in the Canajoharie School District, would be about $86,000, according to a district news release.

Veteran eligibility criteria for the exemption are the following:

∫ Honorable discharge from service.

∫ Active duty status during wartime (Persian Gulf Conflict, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II) for dates specified in law.

∫ Veterans receiving Expeditionary Medals or who qualify under the alternatives to “period of war” service may also qualify.

∫ Generally, reservists are not eligible.

∫ Certain family members of veterans may be eligible.

∫ Criteria is service-based, not income-based like some other exemptions.

By Patricia Older

Leave a Reply