Kay Allen started signing checks Friday afternoon. Come Monday, they’ll be in the mail. By Christmas, about 275 of Columbia County’s disabled veterans will have a little extra cash.
The county’s tax commissioner said refunding property tax overpayments to disabled veterans, delayed about a month because of complications, is taking place at last.
“They are going in the mail Monday,” Allen said.
That’s the first batch. About 75 others still need more research or her office can’t find the veteran listed, she said.
The refunds – which average about $1,100 – are due to 100 percent, service-connected disabled veterans who were approved for a higher homestead exemption. The federal government raised the amount the veterans were to receive starting in 2007, but the information never made it to local officials.
As a result, county tax offices around Georgia have been scrambling to identify the veterans entitled to the refunds and to calculate how much they were owed.
“The whole process has been very complicated,” Allen said, and resulted in more than 40 hours of overtime from her staff just to get the first batch of checks ready.
Allen emphasized that, since news of the overcharges broke in July, her office has heard from many veterans asking about refunds, but the checks are due only to service-connected disabled veterans who had that specific homestead exemption before 2012 and who had been overcharged in any of those previous years.
Veterans who believe they might qualify for the exemption can apply between Jan. 1 and April 15 for next year’s property taxes, Allen said – but they wouldn’t be due a refund from past taxes.