An ordinance under consideration by the Township of West Milford Council this week would allow qualified disabled veterans to have an exemption from taxation for the tax year in which a claim was filed. With passage of the ordinance the council would establish a formal policy determining that a retroactive refund of property taxes be limited to the current year of submission of proper claim to the tax assessor, as required by state law.
According to state law, the governing body of each municipality, by appropriate resolution, may return taxes collected on property from prior years which would have been exempt had the proper claim been timely made in writing. The statutory intent to grant discretion to the local governing body of every municipality has been affirmed by court decisions. These held that a local government has discretion to grant or deny a taxpayer a retroactive refund of property taxes that have been paid sinc the effective date of the disability, as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 100 percent disabled veteran tax relief in a current year would also be applicable to surviving spouses of civil unions and domestic partnerships if the proposed ordinance is approved. If the ordinance is introduced for action, a public hearing date will be set before final passage.