Soldiers could have property taxes waived

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Members of the military who deploy out-of-state would have their property taxes waived temporarily under a proposal in the Legislature.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved both SJR8 and SB116 and sent them to the full Senate. SJR8 is a constitutional amendment — which must pass by two-thirds majorities in both houses and be approved by voters — to allow the change, and SB116 is a statute needed to implement it.

"This will certainly make a big difference" to the families of military members who are deployed away from home, said Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, who is sponsoring the legislation. "We felt this would be a great opportunity to say thanks to them."

Utah National Guard Col. Scot Olsen said it "recognizes the very real impact on soldiers and their families as they deploy."

Members of the military, and their spouses, would qualify to have the property taxes on their primary residence waived in a year when they have served out-of-the-state on active federal duty for 200 consecutive days, or for 200 days in a calendar year. They would need to apply for the tax break with their home county every year.

Robles said the state has said the change to benefit the military would raise property taxes on other residents by an average of 16 cents per home.