Legislative Questions 3/20/2018

I am so glad to have these questions. The answers I have provided are a little long, but I think well worth the read:

What is the current situation for widows of 100%ers regarding the extension of the homeowners $300,000 exemption? Also asked, Is the DAV and any other Veterans organizations trying to get this to lifetime of the widow?

It has been a clear priority for the DAV MN over the past several years to expand eligibility and amount of time for surviving spouses for the property tax value exclusion. I worked last year, in my position with DAV MN to help draft, push and see signed into law HF 119 & SF 84 which now allows EVERY widow who becomes eligible for DIC (Dependency Indemnity Compensation), the monthly payments to a Veteran’s widow(er), can now apply for the property tax value exclusion.

I would note this is regardless of the Veterans rating, or exclusion eligibility, prior to death. An example: Veteran A is service connected for a condition at 60% (so not eligible for property tax relief). Veteran A passes away and the cause of death is, or closely is, related to or a result of that condition. If the surviving spouse files a claim with their representative (CVSO, etc..) and is awarded DIC, they should now be eligible for the property tax value exclusion as if the Veteran were 100% prior to death.

As to the question of what is being done to eliminate the 8-year limit on this benefit, several bills have been introduced this session to address that. The DAV MN is encouraging our members and partner organizations to throw all of their support and efforts behind supporting HF 3429 & SF 3261.

Why HF 3429 & SF 3261?

These bills would make the benefit for the lifetime of the widow(er).
These bills would create a one-time transferability of the value exclusion for the widow(er) into a house of equal or lesser taxable value. Which is significant because that means instead of this being an extension of the Veteran’s benefit, this would be an independent benefit for our surviving spouses.

These bills would correct a problem best explained by another example: Veteran A is awarded 100% July 15th, 2018. Veteran A has missed the application deadline for the 2019 property tax relief and now must wait to apply in 2019 to gain access to this benefit in taxes payable year 2020 under the current law. These bills would correct that. There would still be a deadline for those connected prior to the deadline, but, an exemption for the application of those who are rated after that deadline.

It is my opinion these companion bills introduced by Rep. Dettmer and Sen. Anderson are significant improvements to the current law and should gain our full support.

What can you do?

These bills are both waiting to be heard in the Tax Committee of their respective chambers. Contact your State Representative and State Senator and let them know, “I fully support HF 3429 & SF 3261. Please do everything within your power to ensure they are heard as soon as possible and sent to the floor instead of being held over for future consideration.” Of course, put that in your own words and adjust as you see fit.

Not sure how to find your State Representative or Senator’s office number?

Click here and fill in your residence information: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

Is anyone working on raising the $300,000? Seems that property values have gone up significantly since the $300k was set. Should be higher with the increases. Could increases be tied to one of the CPI indexes or some real estate indicator?

I do not currently have a member supported resolution to pursue raising the 300k level. I would note the current median sales price (typically higher than taxable value) in Minnesota is in the neighborhood of $180,000 and the median value estimated somewhere around $160,000, depending on whose numbers and from when.

This may seem like a bum deal for the Veterans who have $450,000 houses, but, I would also remind them they are only paying as if the value of their home was $150,000 or below median value. The optics on pursuing an overall increase on the value of the homes would be challenging. While we know in some of the higher priced real estate markets $450,000 for a home is not the same as in rural Minnesota, it is far too easy for someone to circulate a picture of one of the greater Minnesota homes and really smear any possible attempts.
I am only pointing out the potential challenges to an effort. If a Chapter would like to put a resolution forward and it is supported by our members in Convention, I will put my full effort into making it happen.

As always, I can be reached at 651-788-3186 or [email protected] with any questions, concerns or gripes.
Trent C Dilks
Legislative Director
Disabled American Veterans, Dept. of MN