Disabled Veterans Bill Advances
SACRAMENTO - A George Runner proposal to protect California's disabled veterans won backing from a key legislative panel today, when the Senate Governance and Finance Committee voted 7-0 to back SB 1113. The measure, authored by Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), would help ensure that disabled veterans who encounter bureaucratic delays can still claim a key property tax exemption.
"Disabled veterans should not miss out on tax benefits to which they are entitled just because the federal government, for whatever reason, is unable to give them their 100% disability rating in a timely manner," said Runner.
Under California law, veterans who receive a 100% disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.
Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they've missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.
SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption, even if the rating process takes more than four years to complete.
"Veterans who are disabled as a direct result of serving our country shouldn't be penalized for delays over which they have no control," said Knight. "I commend my colleagues for backing SB 1113 to ensure disabled veterans have access to the tax benefits they deserve."
The measure also won unanimous support from the Senate Veterans Committee at its April 8 hearing. In addition, the full Board of Equalization voted to sponsor SB 1113 at its March 25 meeting, and the measure has also received support from the California Assessors' Association, California Taxpayers Association and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.