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Tax law for vets

November 20, 2013 - A new Michigan law passed Nov. 12, the "Dannie Lee Barnes Disabled Veteran Property Tax Relief Act," is effective immediately and provides disabled veterans a 100 percent exemption on property taxes.

The law allows honorably disabled U.S. veterans, along with their spouses, to waive all property taxes for their primary residence. Eligible residents must submit a signed affidavit along with proof of eligibility to the Independence Township Assessing Department before a Board of Review meeting on Dec. 10.

"We would like to get the word out to our veterans that may be eligible for this exemption of property taxes," said Chris Ritchie, Independence Township assistant director of assessing.

If the board approves their eligibility, they will have their 2013 property taxes on their homestead cancelled altogether. After that date, they won't be able to apply for the 2013 year and will only be able to apply beginning with the 2014 tax year, Ritchie said.

An affidavit must also be submitted with proof. To qualify:

• Real property used and owned as a homestead by a disabled veteran who was discharged from the armed forces of the U.S. under honorable conditions or surviving spouse described in Sec 2.

• The affidavit shall be filed at the local assessing office by the property owner or their legal designee. The affidavit is filed with the assessing office between tax day for each year (Dec. 31) and ending at the final adjournment of the Board of Review.

• Taxes will be cancelled for any year in which a disabled veteran eligible for this exemption has acquired title to real property exempt under this section.

• If a disabled veteran who is otherwise eligible for an exemption dies, either before or after the exemption is granted, the exemption shall remain available to or shall continue for their unremarried surviving spouse. That spouse must be a resident of Michigan and who owns and uses the home as their homestead. The surviving spouse shall comply with the requirements and shall indicate on the affidavit that they are the surviving spouse entitled to the exemption. The exemption shall continue as long as the surviving spouse remains unremarried.

"Disabled Veteran" means a person who is a state resident, determined by Veterans Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service and entitled to veterans' benefits at 100 percent rate, as well as housing, and has been rated by Veterans Affairs as individually unemployable.

For more information call Independence Township at 248-625-5111.

– Andrea Beaudoin

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