Press Release: Exemption for Surviving Spouse of 100% Disabled Veteran
Duval County Appraisal District News Release
Thursday, April 19, 2012
For IMMEDIATE Release
Attorney General Clarifies That Surviving Spouse of 100% Disabled Veteran Is
Entitled to Exemption Under New Law If All Conditions Satisfied
Surviving spouses of disable veterans who receive the residence homestead exemption for 100% disabled veterans prior to January 1, 2012 can still qualify for the full exemption on residential homesteads even though legislation passed by the last session of the Texas Legislature did not become effective until that date, according to a ruling issued by Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott.
“Our interpretation of the law and of the attorney general’s opinion means that surviving spouses of qualified 100% disabled veterans who died in 2009, 2010, or 2011 and later will be entitled to the exemption,” Chief Appraiser Rene Garza said. “This eligibility also requires the surviving spouse to meet all of the other eligibility requirements outlined in state law.”
The exemption for 100% disabled veterans is provided for in Section 11.131 of the Texas Property Tax Code, which retroactively took effect January 1, 2009. The new 2012 law, authored by Harris County Senator Dan Patrick, states that the veteran must have qualified for exemption under subsection (b) of the 2009 law in order for the surviving spouse to be eligible for exemption.
Because the law providing continuation of the exemption for surviving spouses was not effective until January 1, 2012, there was a question of whether or not the disabled veteran must have died on or after that date for the disabled veteran’s surviving spouse to be eligible for the exemption.
In his opinion, Attorney General Abbott stated that “so long as the surviving spouse is on January 1, 2012 a surviving spouse that satisfies the other requirements of subsection 11.131 (c), the surviving spouse is eligible for the exemption.”
The opinion specifically addressed the question of a disabled veteran’s death in 2011 before the law took effect. The attorney general opined that the death of the disabled veteran in 2011, prior to the effective date of legislation “does not change that result and is relevant to only the determination as to whether the spouse is a surviving spouse under the Tax Code on January 1, 2012,” General Abbott concluded.
The attorney general’s opinion also addressed an issue of a pro rata calculation of the property tax exemption of a disabled veteran who died before January 1, 2012, and determined that such a pro rata calculation was not required under the Tax Code.
“There may well be other issues that are raised regarding the enforcement of this portion of the Tax Code,” Chief Garza said. “However, the Duval County Appraisal District will of course be totally guided by this opinion of Attorney General Abbott.
END OF NEWS RELEASE