Although dozens of school boards across Nassau County recently voted to ease veterans’ tax burdens, the county’s Department of Assessment has postponed enactment of the tax breaks until 2015-16. Veterans from the Bellmores said that miscommunication between local and state officials about the deadline for school districts to approve a new exemption is now affecting them negatively.
Veterans who live in New York have been eligible for state, county, town and village tax exemptions for years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Dec. 18, 2013, that gave school boards the option to offer exemptions as well. The exemptions reduce the assessed value of veterans’ homes, lowering their school taxes. There are three categories of exemptions: wartime veteran in a non-combat zone, wartime veteran in a combat zone and wartime veteran in a combat zone with disability.
Thirty-eight of Nassau County’s 54 school districts approved veterans’ tax exemptions this year, according to Brian Nevin, a county spokesman. The Bellmore Board of Education adopted the exemption at its Feb. 11 meeting, and the North Bellmore School District board did so on March 13 (click here for more).
An April 1 letter signed by Nassau Acting Assessor James Davis, which the Department of Assessment emailed to school district officials around the county, first informed them that there was a Jan. 2 deadline for approving veterans’ tax exemptions. No district in the county met that deadline.
Nevin said that state law mandated that the county use Jan. 2 as the deadline. “The assessor simply complies with state law,” he wrote in an email. “It’s a state law that dictates the regulations.”
The law that Cuomo signed did not set a date by which school boards had to act.
Bellmore Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Famularo said that local administrators were surprised when they received Davis’s letter, since previous correspondence from the Department of Assessment indicated that the deadline was in March.