BY: Citizens Count
In order to qualify, the veteran must provide the assessor with certification from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that he or she has been rated permanently and totally disabled.
Under current state law, there is already a tax exemption for veterans who are double amputees, paraplegic, or blind in both eyes who own a specially adapted home with the help of the VA. However, there are other reasons the VA might certify a veteran as totally and permanently disabled, such as PTSD.
Anyone who was dishonorably discharged would not be eligible for the exemption. The bill also requires that the permanent disability be the result of injury sustained while the veteran was deployed. A disabled veteran’s surviving spouse would also be entitled to receive the exemption.
Currently, all permanently totally disabled veterans are already entitled to a $700 tax credit under RSA 72:35, and municipalities may vote to increase this credit up to a total of $2000. Towns can also choose to adopt a tax credit for all veterans, even those without disability, up to $500.
Veterans have earned a tax break
Proponents argue that this bill would demonstrate the Granite State’s gratitude toward all permanently and totally disabled veterans. Along with helping our war heroes make their financial ends meet, the measure would also raise awareness of veterans issues.
Other supporters argue that it is most fair to use the VA definition of permanently and totally disabled, rather than limiting the tax exemption to double amputees, paraplegics, and blind veterans.
Tax breaks for some, but not all, are unfair
Those opposed to the bill argue that it is wrong to offer selective tax exemptions to certain groups of citizens. Doing so places a greater burden on the rest of the tax base. These opponents believe there are more meaningful ways for New Hampshire citizens to show their gratitude to permanently disabled veterans – such as volunteering to work with them.
Other opponents note that there are already multiple tax credits towns may choose to adopt for veterans, so this expansion of a tax exemption is unnecessary.
What do you think? Should towns be allowed to exempt totally disabled veterans from paying property taxes? Let us know – yes or no, and why – in the comments below.