Texas state government is doing the right thing by offering a new tax exemption to a group that truly deserves our respect: disabled U.S. military veterans.Veterans who meet the highest threshold of qualifications will be exempt from paying any property taxes on their homesteads. To qualify for a full exemption, veterans must be classified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being unemployable or having a 100 percent disability rating. Veterans must also have received 100 percent disability compensation from the VA. Veterans wishing to claim the exemption can begin the process by contacting their county appraisal districts.House Bill 3613 from the 81st Texas Legislature allows the complete property tax exemption, which is effective for 2009 and onward. The law, however, does not allow the surviving spouse of eligible veterans to receive the homestead exemption. Surviving spouses do remain eligible for the exemptions for people with disabilities and for people age 65 and older.Another exemption is also available for disabled veterans, including those classified by the VA as less than 100 percent disabled and those qualified for the full homestead property tax exemption. Beginning at a 10 percent VA disability rating, a veteran can get an exemption of $5,000 to $12,000 for any one property he or she owns. For veterans receiving the full homestead property tax exemption, the additional exemption could be applied to non-homestead property.If you or someone you know is a disabled veteran living in Texas, please learn all you can about this important property tax exemption. During these uncertain economic times, it has true potential to help those who have made tremendous sacrifices make ends meet. Veterans wishing to apply for the homestead exemption should contact their county appraisal districts. An application form for veterans and appraisal districts to use can be found on the Comptroller's Web site at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/vetexempt.pdf.To find information about disability ratings or employ-ability from the VA, call (800) 827-1000 or visit www.va.gov. Disabled veterans receiving a homestead exemption may need to contact their mortgage lenders to adjust their escrow payments.Veterans may also need to contact their mortgage lenders to adjust their escrow payments.
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