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Updated Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 3 PM EST

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New law provides tax
break for disabled vets

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      A new state law will provide more than 40 local veterans or the spouses of deceased veterans with tax relief.
       Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 161 into law on Nov. 12 to amend the tax act to permit homestead property tax exemptions for Michigan's disabled veterans, including 1,366 in Macomb County.
       "Michigan's military veterans, particularly those who are disabled, have sacrificed more for us than we can ever repay," Snyder said. "They have served to protect our way of life and our freedom. This property tax break will be available to their families will help them afford homes and stay right here in Michigan."
       To qualify, a veteran must be one of the following from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: declared 100 percent permanently and totally disabled due to military service, unable to work, or have a certificate saying they receive benefits due to disability for specially adapted housing. The veterans must have been honorably discharged.
       The spouse of such a veteran qualifies if the veteran dies before the tax break is implemented, but must be unmarried to remain eligible.
       Eligible residents have until Dec. 10 to apply to their Board of Reviews for 2013 tax exemptions, and have until the last day of the March Board of Review to apply and receive 2014 exemptions. The 2014 Board of Reviews is typically held the second week of March.
       An affidavit must be filed annually by homeowners as well as presenting certificates proving their status to receive the exemption.
       Steve Mellen, Macomb County director of equalization, said the law will exempt the majority of property taxes for those that qualify, though the state has yet to be determined if exemptions for fee-based taxes will remain unaffected.
       "If they have a special assessment for sewer, water, roads they may have to pay for that," he said.
       Mellen said the State Tax Commission will determine what is or isn't exempt, but will not meet again until Dec. 16.
       Mellen said the law may hurt municipalities by providing fewer tax dollars, but only a small portion of the 350,000 parcels in the county qualify.
       The law tracks eligible parcels by ZIP code. There are nine parcels in the Bruce Township/Romeo area (48065) that qualify, two in Ray Township (48096), 24 in Washington Township (48094 and 48095) and seven in Armada (48005).
       A total of 1,366 Macomb County residents will qualify for the exemption. State sources indicate around 700,000 veterans reside in Michigan.
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