Real Estate Tax Exemption FAQs

Real Estate Tax Exemptions (RETX) are for eligible disabled veterans for their primary residence. The tax exemptions include township taxes, county taxes, and school district taxes. Below are some questions we're asked often about eligibility, wartime and armed conflict eras, taxes, income, and the process.

  1. Eligibility
  2. Wartime & Armed Conflict
  3. Taxes
  4. Income
  5. Process

Are Surviving Spouses eligible?

Yes. Surviving Spouses are eligible provided the deceased veteran would have met all eligibility requirements, including being rated at 100% P&T during their lifetime. For these applications, we would also need a marriage certificate and a death certificate. 

What if the surviving spouse moves and the veteran, now deceased never lived in that house?

The surviving spouse is still eligible for this benefit understanding the deed would only be in the surviving spouse’s name.

If the veteran or surviving spouse goes into a long-term care facility, are they still eligible?

That depends… long-term care or rehab facility placement is usually not forever, since persons sometimes return home for hospice. Placement in a facility does not mean the primary residence has changed.

If the veteran dies, does the spouse need to immediately file?

No, just wait until it comes up for renewal. Remember, if the death is service-connected or if the veteran was rated at 100% for more than ten years, the spouse may be eligible for a Dependent Indemnity Compensation Claim. 

Who decides if I am eligible?

The PA Department of Military and Veteran Affairs adjudicates the claim after our office processes the application.

Can I appeal their decision if I’m not eligible?

For matters other than income-related, you can appeal with the County Tax Assessment Board. Our office may testify on your behalf, if needed.

Why does my disability rating need to be “Permanent and Total”?

The exemption is valid for 5 years. If your disability rating is not P&T, it can be re-rated during that time. 100% Permanent and Total (A P&T must be on your award letter) means the severity of the disability is expected to continue for the remainder of the veteran's life, with no improvement. Permanent & Total ratings cannot be reduced.

If I am not 100% but paid at 100% due to “Unemployability”, can I get the exemption?

Yes. You are eligible.

Does the home I am applying for an exemption need to be my primary residence? What about if the veteran or eligible surviving spouse is in a nursing home or rehabilitative care?

The home needs to be a primary residence.  If the veteran or eligible surviving spouse is in a facility, that home can still be considered their residence….their health may improve. 

Does the veteran’s name need to be on the deed, can anyone else be on the deed?

Yes, the veteran’s name needs to be on the deed but a spouse is permitted. Dependents are not allowed. Trusts and LLCs are usually not allowed unless the persons who are a part of the trust or LLC are only the Veteran and spouse. 

What if I don’t own the home yet?

If you are shopping for a home, you cannot apply for the exemption to avoid Escrow costs. You cannot apply until the deed is recorded.