Public Hearing on Veterans' Tax Exemption

Q&A on Veterans' Tax Exemption Hearing
Posted on 11/04/2019
Questions and Answers regarding the West Irondequoit Central School District's Public Hearing on the Alternative Veterans' Tax Exemption on Thursday, November 21st at Dake Junior High School, 350 Cooper Road. You also can find more information from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. 

What is happening? 
The WICSD's Board of Education will hold a public hearing at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 21st before its regular meeting at Dake. The board is investigating the Alternative Veterans' Tax Exemption (AVTE). By law, the board must hold a public hearing, then decide prior to March 1st if it will adopt a resolution to offer the tax exemption. 

What is the purpose of the hearing? 
To provide more details to residents about the ATVE, answer their questions and receive feedback. 

Can you speak at the hearing? 
Yes. To speak, you must sign up at Dake starting at 4:45 p.m. on November 21st. Speakers are limited to three minutes and the order will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be an informational presentation by Mr. James Brennan, WICSD's Assistant Superintendent for Finance, from 5:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The hearing will start at 5:30 p.m. 

What is the Alternative Veterans' Tax Exemption? 
The AVTE gives school districts the option to apply the AVTE to school property taxes. It reduces the assessed value of a qualifying individual's private, primary residence before the tax rate is applied. A veteran, spouse of the veteran, or the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran may apply for the exemption. Whenever properties are exempt, there is a cost shift to non-exempt property owners. There are currently 824 properties in West Irondequoit that already receive an AVTE from town property taxes. A veteran who qualifies for a property tax exemption from the Town of Irondequoit would also qualify for a school tax benefit, if the WICSD were to adopt the AVTE.

What would it mean for non-veterans? 
If adopted by the WICSD, the AVTE would mean a school property tax increase for non-exempt residents due to the shifted tax distribution. Based on current assessment and exemption data from the Town Assessor's office, the estimated financial impact would be: 

- $376,036 of the tax levy would shift from exempted properties to non-exempt
- Tax rate would increase by $0.26/$1,000 assessed property value to compensate
- Example: $120,000 property value would pay $31.23 more in taxes (per year).

What is a veteran?
A qualifying veteran is generally one who served during a "period of war:" World War I, WWII, Korea, Vietnam or the Persian Gulf War (1990-current). 

What are the three war veteran tax exemption categories? 
There are three base exemption categories. For veterans who served during a war, it's 15 percent up to a maximum of $12,000. For those who saw combat, it's 10 percent up to an additional $8,000 more. For those who are disabled veterans, it's a maximum 50 percent exemption and up to $40,000 more.
 
Will there be a decision or vote on November 21st? 
No. The Board of Education is holding the hearing to provide more details for residents and receive feedback. 

Will there be a public vote on the AVTE? 
No. The Board will decide if this is something it will adopt. It can do so for any year and it also can repeal it at any time.