From Illinois Business Journal news services
EDWARDSVILLE — Honorably discharged veterans who are facing financial difficulties still have time to get help paying their property taxes.
The Madison County Veterans’ Assistance Commission and the Madison County Treasurer’s Office want to remind veterans about the property tax program that assists struggling veterans. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1.
“We know there are veterans who need assistance and this program helps those who need it most,” Treasurer Kurt Prenzler said.
Prenzler and VAC Superintendent Brad Lavite first announced the program in 2014.
Lavite said the goal of the program is to make sure veterans’ property taxes get paid.
“We want to keep a veteran in his or her home,” Lavite said. “It costs more to relocate and set them up in another place than it does to keep them in their current place.”
Since the inception of the program, the VAC has received hundreds of calls.
Lavite said not everyone qualifies for assistance, but they may meet the requirements for other programs.
The VAC provides emergency aid and services to approximately 45,000 veterans and their families throughout Madison County.
Lavite said the VAC assists thousands of veterans each year with rent payments to avoid eviction and with utility payments to avoid shut-off. It also refers the homeless/transitional for housing, as well as provides food/family essentials, miscellaneous disability care expenses, and other assistance as needed, he said.
To qualify for the property tax program, a veteran must provide proof of an Honorable Discharge (DD-214) from active duty with the U.S. Military, along with proof of ownership of the property (such as a tax bill or the property deed in the veteran’s name.) The veteran also must have proof of income and the inability to pay.
The VAC can be reached at (618) 692-7040, ext. 4554.
Prenzler said veterans should also be aware of a new law that increases exemptions of those with service-connected disabilities.
Veterans with a disability of 30 percent to 49 percent will receive a $2,500 annual exemption. Those between 50 to 69 percent will qualify for a $5,000 yearly exemption and wounded veterans with 70 percent or more will be exempt from property tax payments.
Prenzler said if a taxpayer has applied for a 2015 property tax exemption nothing more needs to be done. If not, a person should contact their local township assessor or the county’s chief assessment office, he said.
“Each year taxpayers must reapply for all exemptions other than the homestead exemption,” he said.