Tax benefits for veterans November 9, 2015

Tax benefits for veterans
By: Mark Gruba

CPA Jamie Block discussed some tax benefits for veterans Monday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Block said there are tax credits and benefits, education benefits, and state property tax exemptions that veterans can receive due to their service as a member of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard.

Many disabled veterans are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Block said this credit is usually used to reduce the amount of payroll taxes while at the same time encouraging the individuals who might receive other public benefits to seek employment, such as veterans. Military members may be especially interested in the EITC because combat pay is not included in a service member’s income.

The post 9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program for service members and veterans who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. You are eligible if you collectively served at least 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001 or were honorable discharged from active duty for a service-related disability after serving 30 continuous days following that point. This bill is not taxable and does not need to be declared as part of your income.

You can receive a percentage of a tuition and fee payment that is paid to your school on your behalf. That includes a monthly housing allowance or a books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000. The post 9/11 GI Bill can be used at colleges, universities, trade schools and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships and flight schools.

Block said New York offers a partial tax exemption for certain New York veterans. Eligible veterans are those who purchased a home with eligible funds (money from insurance, a pension or bonus), veterans who received expeditionary medals, and veterans who served during the Cold War. Higher exemptions are available for veterans who served in combat and/or are disabled. This exemption is available for a home owned by the veteran and is also available for a surviving spouse who has not remarried.

For more information, Block suggested veterans check out the Department of Veteran Affairs website, click here.

For more information from the New York State Society of CPAs, click here.