The second of two state constitutional amendments on Virginia’s ballot this year could benefit veterans who have a 100% disability by exempting them from taxes on one vehicle. 

The constitutional amendment asks voters: 

Should an automobile or pickup truck that is owned and used primarily by or for a veteran of the United States armed forces or the Virginia National Guard who has a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be free from state and local taxation?”

If passed, the amendment would add one vehicle or truck to the list of tax-exempt properties for state and local taxation. The exemption would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, and any veteran that claims it would not be reimbursed for any previously paid taxes prior to the exemption. 

Speaker of the House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, introduced the legislation in the House in 2019, and state Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, carried the legislation this year

In Virginia, constitutional changes must first pass two consecutive years before ending up as referendums on ballots. 

Presently, all property is taxed under state law in Virginia but, if constitutionally provisioned, there can be exceptions.

Reeves, a veteran who said he’s only classified as 20% disabled, would not qualify, but it’s his experience as a veteran that got him thinking about carrying the legislation through the Senate.  

“What inspired me was the ability to see some of these folks coming back without their limbs. The vehicles they use are very expensive,” Reeves said of those who need specialty features for their handicaps, “and they can’t function without them.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, to be eligible for disability benefits and labeled as a disabled veteran, an individual must have become injured or ill during service or have a preexisting condition exacerbated by their service and must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military. 

“It’s very limited in scope only for 100% disabled veterans,” Reeves said. “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ by continuing to help those who serve the country.” 

If approved, the amendment would be in Article X, Section 6 of the Virginia Constitution. The full text of the constitutional amendment can be found here. 

 

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