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The new law, which was approved by voters in November, extends the homestead tax exemption to the spouses of veterans who were totally disabled as the result of a service related incident. Up until now, when those veterans died, their surviving spouses could be hit with big property tax bills. Duncan McGee is with the Texas Veterans Commission.
"There were a number of folks that were tremendously impacted, negatively, primarily widows, that lost homes as a result of not being able to fulfill their financial obligations."
The new exemption won't come cheap. An estimated 25,000 veterans in Texas are totally disabled and the tax breaks could cost the state $25 million dollars in property taxes by 2016. McGee says if the new law affects you, now is the time to look into it.
"A lot of folks are mistaken in thinking it's actually with the VA. So they'll want to go to the VA and the VA, they do a great job, but they really have no idea what's required relative to a state or a county in terms of these tax benefits. So then people get a little bit frustrated, so it's important that they realize that it's with their local county taxing authority and they should get started today in doing their research."
There are 300,000 disabled veterans in Texas, but most of them are not totally disabled.