Disabled Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption
Disabled veterans of military service may be eligible for up to a $241,627 exemption towards their property’s assessment. Qualifying veterans must have been disabled due to a service-related injury or disease while in the armed forces, and must be a resident of California as of January 1 of the year in which they are applying for an exemption.
Veterans with 100% disability, or partially disabled and unemployable, or their unmarried surviving spouses, are eligible for up to a $161,083 exemption. If total household income does not exceed $72,335, the 100% disabled veteran may qualify for up to a $241,627 exemption.
Qualifying income levels are subject to change.
I am the property owner and a disabled veteran. Can I claim both Homeowners’ Exemption and Disabled Veterans Exemption?
The Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption in California is a program that provides property tax exemptions to eligible disabled veterans or their unmarried surviving spouses. This exemption is based on Article XIII of the California Constitution, section 4(a), and Revenue and Taxation Code section 205.5.
To be eligible for this exemption, you must be a veteran or an unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who:
● Because of a service-connected injury or disease is blind in both eyes, lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled.
● The unmarried surviving spouse must also have verification of specific criteria related to the veteran's service and disability.
The United States Veterans Administration (USVA), or the military service from which you were discharged, must rate your disability at 100 percent or rate your disability compensation at 100 percent by reason of being unable to secure a gainful occupation.
The exemption has two levels:
1) Basic Exemption: Those eligible for the 2023 Basic Exemption can claim $161,083 in property tax exemptions.
2) Low-Income Exemption: The Low-Income Exemption is available to those whose total annual household income does not exceed the indexed low-income limit for the year in which you are claiming the exemption. In 2023, eligible low-income households earning an annual income of $72,335 can claim a property tax exemption of $241,627.
The exemption amounts and household income limits change annually. For the most up-to-date figures, please refer to the attached schedule.
* As provided by the Revenue and Taxation Code section 205.5, the exemption amount and household income limit shall be compounded annually to account for changes in the California Consumer Price Index.
The application process depends on your situation. If you are a first-time claimant or need to claim the Low-Income Exemption, you can file a claim form. However, if you received the Disabled Veterans' Exemption last year and are only claiming the Low-Income Exemption this year, you can check the appropriate box and proceed to fill out the relevant sections of the claim form. The form should be filed by the specified deadline, and the specific deadlines vary depending on your eligibility category.
The documentation required may vary depending on your eligibility category. Typically, you will need to provide proof of your disability rating from the United States Veterans Administration or the military service, marriage certificates (for unmarried surviving spouses), proof of the veteran's service-connected disability, and other relevant documentation. The specific requirements are outlined in the claim form instructions.
You can find the most recent exemption amounts and income limits in the attached schedule provided on the final page of the claim form. These figures are adjusted annually based on the California Consumer Price Index.
Can I claim this exemption if I am a co-owner of the property along with the eligible veteran or their surviving spouse?
Yes, the exemption can be claimed by eligible owners or co-owners, including the veteran's spouse or the unmarried surviving spouse of the veteran. Furthermore, exemption may be obtained by a purchaser named in the contract of sale of a primary residence, or a shareholder in a corporation that has the rights to claim possession of a home owned by the corporation.
The exemption can be applied to various types of properties that are subject to property tax, including single-family residences, structures containing more than one dwelling unit, condominiums, cooperative housing units, houseboats, manufactured homes, and land on which you live in a state-licensed trailer or manufactured home. However, these properties must be considered the primary dwelling of the claimant.
● Properties intended for rental, vacant and unoccupied, or used as a vacation or secondary home shall not qualify.
Once granted, the Basic Exemption remains in effect without the need for annual filing until it is terminated. However, annual filing is required if you are claiming the Low-Income Exemption. If your property becomes ineligible or you need to claim the Low-Income Exemption, you must file a new claim form.
Can I apply for this exemption if my property has been subject to a supplemental assessment due to a change in ownership or new construction?
Yes, you can apply for the exemption if your property is subject to supplemental assessment(s) resulting from a change in ownership or new construction on or after January 1. Certain conditions and limitations apply, so it's advisable to check if you remain qualified. Specified requirements are listed below:
(1) The owner or the owner's veteran spouse occupies or intends to occupy the property as their principal place of residence within 90 days after the change in ownership or completion of construction, and
(2) The property is not already receiving the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption or another property tax exemption of greater value. If the property received an exemption of lesser value on the current roll, the difference in the amount between the two exemptions shall be applied to the supplemental assessment.
(3) The owner does not own other property which is currently receiving the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption.
In cases where a claimant has received both the Basic Exemption and the Low-Income Exemption, how is the total exemption amount calculated and applied to the property tax bill?
Claimants may receive either the Basic Exemption or the Low-Income Exemption, or a combination of the two. However, if a claim for the Low-Income Exemption is filed late, the claimant shall qualify for 85 or 90 percent of the additional exemption amount.
1) If a claim for the Low-Income exemption is filed after that time but by 5 p.m. on December 10, 90 percent of the exemption is available.
2) Claims filed after that time, 85 percent of the exemption is available.
Furthermore, if two or more qualified claimants own a property in which they both reside, each claimant is entitled to the Disabled Veterans' Exemption.
If the property does not have a street address, how should the claimant address this on the claim form, and what alternative means of identification are accepted?
If the dwelling has no street address, state this matter on the document. Do not enter a post office box number for the address of the dwelling.
What happens if a claimant fails to meet the deadlines for filing the claim form, whether for the Basic or Low-Income Exemption? Are there any exceptions or extensions in specific circumstances?
The full exemption is available for Low-Income Exemption claimants if the filing is made by 5 p.m. on February 15 of each year. Filing deadlines vary depending upon the event which a claimant is filing. Failing to meet the filing deadlines may result in the loss of the exemption or exemption reduction.
If a claim for the Low-Income exemption is filed after that time but by 5 p.m. on December 10, 90 percent of the exemption is available. For claims filed after that time, 85 percent of the exemption is available.
Further information regarding the claimants specific scenario can be found under the General Information Section, Alternatives 1(b) - 2, pg. 3 of the 2023 Claim For Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption.
In the case of a surviving spouse, what is the process for proving the cause of the veteran's death was service-connected, and what documents are required for this verification?
The unmarried surviving spouse of a person who died while on active duty from a service-connected injury or disease, or who was discharged in a form other than dishonorable conditions, are eligible to receive exemptions.
Requirements for spousal verification are:
● Name of the Veteran
● Social Security Number of Veteran
● Date of Passing & Proof that the cause of death was service-connected
● Dates of Service
● Copy of marriage certificate
● Copy of Death Certificate or Report of Casualty
These documents must be submitted to the Assessor.
How does the exemption process work if the property is co-owned by individuals who are not eligible for the exemption, but one co-owner is eligible as a veteran or their surviving spouse?
The exemption can be applied to the property if at least one of the co-owners is eligible for the exemption, such as a veteran or their surviving spouse. It's important to ensure that the eligible co-owner's information is provided during the application process and documents detailing relation to co-owner.