PSAR’s success at helping San Diegans with the American dream of home ownership is becoming known statewide.
The California Board of Equalization (BOE), a state agency, has recognized PSAR for its leadership role in a housing affordability program that is continuing to assist disabled military veterans in San Diego achieve homeownership, stay in their homes and save money on their property taxes.
The BOE recently presented a resolution to PSAR President Robert Calloway in recognition of the association's success with the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption Program. The resolution recognized PSAR and the program’s leaders, including the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), for exemplary leadership and their innovative approach to reaching and serving California’s disabled veteran population.
Presenting the official state resolution to PSAR was Mike Schaefer, BOE board member for District 4, which encompasses all of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and Orange counties and a small portion of San Bernardino County. BOE is a state agency that oversees county property tax assessors. Schaefer also presented resolutions to Ernie Dronenburg, San Diego County Assessor, and Ricardo Pacheco, state director, VAREP. The San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s (ARCC) Office manages the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption Program.
The program, promoted by both PSAR and VAREP, connects disabled veterans and their spouses with the Assessor’s Office so they can qualify for a reduction of their property taxes. In 2018, the program, initiated by Jordan Marks, Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate with the Assessor’s Office, resulted in assisting more than 8,000 local disabled veterans with the little-used property tax exemption provided for in the California Constitution. The number of local disabled veterans helped was more than 1,400 vets served the previous year, a 28 percent increase for 2018. As a result of the program, enacted without any additional government funding, 100 percent veteran homeowners benefitted from a collective $1.9 million in property tax savings.
The little-known property tax exemption, found in the California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code Section 205.5, provides a property tax exemption on the home of some disabled veterans or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran. The exemption is available to a 100 percent disabled veteran who, because of an injury incurred in military service, is blind in both eyes, or has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled as determined by the VA or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.
The Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption Program in San Diego County provides veterans with a reduction in property taxes in two ways:
-- A “Basic Exemption” is available for all veterans with a 100 percent disability rating or their unmarried surviving spouse. The Basic Exemption provides a savings of more than $1,000 per year.
-- A “Low-income Exemption” is available for veterans in households earning less than $60,000 annually. The amounts and income limits are adjusted annually for inflation.
Here’s how PSAR members can share with veterans the information on how to apply: Applicants should have their DD214 discharge with any rating other than dishonorable and their letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs detailing their disability rating. New homebuyers should file by the end of the year of purchase. The exemption will renew automatically after that.
Online applications are available at www.sdarcc.com. In-person assistance is available at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Room #103, San Diego. For assistance or appointments, call (619) 531-5773, or send an e-mail at ARCCdvets@sdcounty.ca.gov. Jordan Marks also is available for questions at Jordan.Marks@sdcounty.ca.gov.
“At PSAR, we use all tools available to us to achieve homeownership for everyone,” said Calloway. “Through member education, veterans and homebuyers know when they have a PSAR agent they are getting the best customer service, along with education and experience. That is how we have helped over 1,400 veterans save $1.9 million and find a home in San Diego.”
At the resolution ceremony, BOE Board Member Schaefer remarked, “Our Assessor Ernie Dronenburg, the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors and the Veteran Association of Real Estate Professionals have gone above and beyond the call of duty by taking the initiative to reach out to disabled veterans. They exemplify the command, `lead, don’t follow.’ I applaud their outstanding efforts to bring the disabled veterans property tax exemption to an additional 1,400 disabled veterans in San Diego County. I have utmost respect for our veterans, especially those who are disabled as a consequence of their service to our country. I have a long-standing commitment to helping these courageous men and women who have sacrificed so much.”
Assessor Dronenburg added, “My San Diego County Assessor’s office is proud of our innovative partnership with the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors and the Veteran Realtors. Together we were able to show that without spending any additional taxpayer dollars, we could better serve our disabled veterans and their spouses. Our efforts helped 1,400 more disabled veterans save over $1.9 million in property taxes annually. We are honored to receive this recognition from Board of Equalization member Schafer and the State of California for being an exceptional model for serving our veterans, which can be implemented statewide.”
Dronenburg’s Assessor’s office affects nearly every San Diego county resident who owns property or rents. His office oversees assessing the value of real estate and personal property, as well as qualifying taxpayers for property tax savings which include disabled veterans, homeowners, affordable housing units, and organizations operating for the welfare of the community. The office has a $71 million budget with 415 employees and five offices throughout San Diego County.
The BOE, which is comprised of five constitutional officers, including California’s Comptroller, oversees county property tax assessors and sets other taxes, including the alcoholic beverage tax, railroad car tax and taxes for public utilities and insurers.