Homestead exemption doubles only for 100% disabled veterans - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Homestead exemption doubles only for 100% disabled veterans

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Some Louisiana veterans are not getting a tax break they expected. In 2010,  the Louisiana Legislature passed a law to double the homestead exemption for veterans who are 100 percent disabled.

But not all veterans who think they should qualify actually get the tax break. In Louisiana, homeowners do not have to pay parish property taxes on the first $75,000 of the value of their homes. A law passed two years ago would double that exemption for veterans totally and permanently disabled.

Vietnam vet Al Cochran expected to get that tax break and applied in Calcasieu parish.

"It's an increase in the homestead exemption from $75,000 to $150,000 for all 100 percent service connected veterans. Totally and permanently disabled is the wording that was the intent of the legislators," said Cochran.

But Al cannot double his homestead exemption because, though he's 100 percent disabled when it comes to employability, his VA disability rating is only 80 percent.

Cochran and assessors from around the state met with a legislative committee about the issue. Calcasieu Assessor Wendy Aguillard said the current wording of the law does not allow veterans such as Al to double their exemption.

"Currently, the way the law is written the veteran would have to have a rating of 100 percent as far as their disability goes," said Aguillard.

However, lawmakers will likely change the law next year. Aguillard said she may seek an attorney general opinion to see if there's any way to  grant the benefit for 2012.

"If we're able to give it to them for 2012 we absolutely will. If we're not able to give it to them for 2012 we feel certain that we will be able to do it for 2013 because the law will be reworded," Aguillard said.

Cochran said doubling his homestead exemption would save him about $250 dollars a year.

There are some other property tax advantages currently extended to veterans. For more click here.

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