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Property Tax Exemptions

California has two separate property tax exemptions: one for veterans and one for disabled veterans.

Veterans Exemption

The California Constitution provides a $4,000 real property (e.g., a home) or personal property (e.g., a boat) exemption for honorably discharged veterans or the spouse or pensioned-parent of a deceased, honorably discharged veteran. Most persons, however, are disqualified from this exemption due to restrictions on the value of property a claimant may own. A person who owns property valued at $5,000 or more ($10,000 or more for a married couple or for the unmarried surviving spouse of a qualified veteran) is not eligible for this exemption. Thus, a veteran who owns a home would most likely not qualify for the veterans exemption.

Disabled Veterans Exemption

The California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code Section 205.5 provides a property tax exemption for the home of a disabled veteran or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran.

There is a basic $100,000 exemption or a low-income (less than $52,470) $150,000 exemption available to a disabled veteran who, because of an injury incurred in military service:

  • is blind in both eyes; or
  • has lost the use of two or more limbs; or
  • is totally disabled as determined by the VA or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.

An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of a service-connected injury or a disease incurred while on active duty or as the result of  active  duty. In other words, a veteran may not have been eligible during his or her lifetime, but the surviving spouse may become eligible for the exemption upon the veteran's death.

Unlike the veterans exemption, the disabled veterans exemption has no personal wealth restriction. The exemption is only available on a veteran's principal place of residence. The home may only receive one property exemption. Thus, if a homeowner's exemption has been granted on a property and the owner subsequently qualifies for the disabled veterans' exemption, the homeowner's exemption should be cancelled to allow for the disabled veterans exemption as it provides the greater benefit.

The issues regarding these exemptions are complex, and the eligibility requirements are specific. Consult the local assessor's office for detailed requirements regarding these exemptions.

Note: Both exemption amounts are annually adjusted for cost of living index; as of January 1, 2013, the exemption amounts are $122,128 and $183,193, respectively.

How Do I Apply?

Form BOE-261-G, Claim for Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption, must be used when claiming this exemption on a property for the very first time for both the basic and the low-income Disabled Veterans' Exemption. The claim form is available by contacting your county assessor.

In order to receive 100 percent of the basic exemption in the first year claimed, the claim form must be filed between the date the property or veteran qualifies and on or before the following January 1, or 90 days after the date of qualification, whichever is later. A one-time filing is only required for the $100,000 basic exemption; however, annual filing is required for the $150,000 low-income exemption to ensure the veteran continues to meet the household income limit restriction (claim form must be filed between January 1 and February 15).

The veteran must file the form with the county assessor of the county in which the property is located. All information requested on the form must be provided, including the following information:

  • Name of the person claiming the exemption
  • Address of the property
  • Statement that the veteran owned and occupied the property as his or her principal place of residence on the lien date, or that he or she intends to own and occupy the property as a principal place of residence on the next succeeding lien date
  • Proof of disability

Veterans may also request more information from their local County Veterans Service Office.

 

​Please visit the Board of Equalization (BOE) Veterans Tax Topics for more information.

Contact your county assessor.

Veterans may also request more information from their local County Veterans Service Office.

Veterans Exemption - Honorably discharged veterans or the spouse or pensioned-parent of a deceased, honorably discharged veteran. Most persons, however, are disqualified from this exemption due to restrictions on the value of property a claimant may own. A person who owns property valued at $5,000 or more ($10,000 or more for a married couple or for the unmarried surviving spouse of a qualified veteran) is not eligible for this exemption. Thus, a veteran who owns a home would most likely not qualify for the veterans exemption.

Disabled Veterans Exemption - Basic $100,000 exemption or low-income (less than $52,470) $150,000 exemption available to a disabled veteran who, because of an injury incurred in military service:

  • is blind in both eyes; or
  • has lost the use of two or more limbs; or
  • is totally disabled as determined by the VA or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.

An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of a service-connected injury or a disease incurred while on active duty or as the result of  active  duty. In other words, a veteran may not have been eligible during his or her lifetime, but the surviving spouse may become eligible for the exemption upon the veteran's death.

 

 

 

 

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Property Tax Exemptions