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Real Estate

Property tax exemptions for homeowners


The maxim “every penny counts” is true even in prosperous economic cycles. Let us discuss a few options for New York City homeowners to save money through real estate tax exemptions. Exemptions lower the amount of tax you owe by reducing your property's assessed value. 

If you already have an exemption, the notice of property value will show the amount of exemption you will receive for that tax year. Two common tax breaks are the Senior Citizen Tax Exemption and Veterans’ Tax Exemption. Both are for those of owner-occupied houses.

The Alternative Veterans tax exemption is available to eligible veterans of foreign wars, expeditionary medalists, veterans with honorable discharges, spouses/widow(er)s of veterans and Gold Star parents. Applicants for the Alternative Veterans exemption must have served in one of the following conflicts: The Persian War conflict, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War II. Veterans designated disabled by the Veterans’ Administration may be eligible for a disabled veteran exemption. Submit a copy of a letter from the VA indicating your disability rating. Your rating can be obtained by calling the VA at 1-800-827-1000.

Form DD-214 is usually used to indicate discharge under honorable conditions. Click the link for a complete listing of Acceptable Military Records for Veterans Property Tax Exemption.

Veterans who have received a letter from the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services stating that they meet the character of discharge criteria for all of the benefits and services listed in the Restoration of Honor Act may submit a copy of the letter.

The Eligible Funds exemption is for veterans who bought homes using "eligible funds," including pensions, bonuses, insurance and mustering out pay. The Alternative Veterans and Eligible Funds tax exemptions have been expanded and will now apply to school taxes. Benefit amount varies according to service and/or disability.

The Senior Citizen Tax Exemption is property tax break for seniors who own one-, two, or three-family homes, condominiums or cooperative apartments, the SCHE tax breaks are now available to homeowners with a combined annual income of $58,399 or less. All owners of the property must be 65 or older, unless the owners are spouses or siblings. If you own the property with a spouse or sibling, only one of you must meet this age requirement.

The total combined annual income of the property owner and spouse or co-owner cannot exceed $58,399. Income includes, but is not limited to, Social Security, retirement benefits, interest, dividends, IRA earnings, capital gains, net rental income, salary or wages and net income from self-employment.

You must own the property for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of filing for the exemption unless you received the exemption on your previously owned residence. All owners must occupy the property as their primary residence except in cases of divorce, legal separation or abandonment. Owners receiving in-patient care at a residential health care facility may be eligible for the exemption. Both exemptions reduce the assessed value of the recipient’s property before taxes are assessed on it. Apply for both exemptions by March 15th by completing an application available at www.nyc.gov/ownerexemptions.

Mathew Joseph is a real estate tax consultant. He can be reached at 929-393-5773.

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