Tennessee Military and Veterans Benefits

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Summary of Tennessee Military and Veterans Benefits: Tennessee offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Veterans Employment Preference, Property Tax Relief, County Motor Vehicle Tax relief, Special Vehicle License Plates, Burial Eligibility in Tennessee's State Veterans Cemeteries, as well as lifetime Hunting, Fishing license and State Park privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.

 

Tennessee Military and Veterans State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

What are my Tennessee Military and Veterans State Tax Benefits?

Tennessee Income Taxes: The State of Tennessee does not a general state income tax. They do have the “Hall Tax” which is discussed in a section below.

Tennessee Retirement Income Taxes : Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax on individuals, so you are not required to file an individual state tax return for Tennessee.

Tennessee Retired Military Pay Taxes : Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax on individuals, so you are not required to file an individual state tax return for Tennessee.

Tennessee State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay : Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax on individuals, so you are not required to file an individual state tax return for Tennessee.

 Tennessee State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax on individuals, so you are not required to file an individual state tax return for Tennessee.

Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Tennessee State Tax Benefits : Tennessee does not levy a general state income tax on individuals, so you are not required to file an individual state tax return for Tennessee.

Learn more about Tennessee Income Taxes

Tennessee Hall Tax: Tennessee has no state income tax. Tennessee does however have the “Hall Tax”, which is imposed only on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stock at a flat rate. This tax does not apply to the first $1,250 of income reported on each individual return or the first $2,500 of joint income reported on a jointly filed return. The Hall tax is in the process of being phased out under the following schedule:

  • 4% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2017

  • 3% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2018

  • 2% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2019

  • 1% of taxable income for tax years beginning January 1, 2020

  • Repeal beginning January 1, 2021

Learn more about Tennessee State Income Tax and the Hall Tax

Tennessee Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse State Property Tax Benefits: Disabled Veterans and their Surviving Spouse may qualify for a rebate or exemption of taxes on a specified portion of the value of property used as their residence. The Veteran or Surviving Spouse must own and use property as primary residence. The maximum market value on which tax relief is calculated is $175,000. Apply through the county trustee; or, if property is within the city limits, application can also be made by contacting your city collecting official.
Who is eligible for Tennessee Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse State Property Tax Benefits?
The Veteran must own and use property on which you apply as your primary residence (proof of residency may be requested). The value of your property does not determine whether you can apply; however, the maximum market value on which tax relief is calculated will be on the first $175,000. If your residence is a mobile home, a copy of your title or bill of sale is required.

For Disabled Veteran*: Your disability must meet one of the following categories:

  • A service-connected disability that resulted in:

    • Paraplegia; OR

    • Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain; OR

    • Loss, or loss of use of, two (2) or more limbs; OR

    • Legal blindness

  • A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability.

  • A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

  • Must not have been dishonorable discharged from any armed service.

For Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran*: Property tax relief shall also be extended to the Surviving Spouse of a disabled Veteran who at the time of the disabled Veteran's death was eligible for disabled Veterans' property tax relief. If a subsequent amendment to the law would have made the deceased Veteran eligible, then property tax relief shall also be extended to the Surviving Spouse. One of the above categories must have been met; OR:

  • Death resulting from (1) a service-connected, combat-related cause or (2) KIA (combat-related). Death resulting from being (1) deployed, (2) away from any home base of training, and (3) in support of combat or peace operations.

  • Must provide a copy of Spouse's death certificate.

  • Must provide a form of personal ID such as your social security card, or driver's license.

  • A Surviving Spouse must have been married to the Veteran at the time of death and may not have remarried in order to be eligible.

*Determination of eligibility for either of these categories will be made based on information provided by the VA through use of consent forms (F-16) for a Disabled Veteran, or (F16S) for a Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran available at the county trustee's office or the city collecting officials' office.

Learn more about Tennessee Disabled Veteran and Surviving Spouse State Property Tax Benefits

Tennessee Tax Free Motor Vehicle Sales to Members of the Armed Forces : As provided in Public Chapter 842, Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-6-303(a)(1) there is exempt from the tax if the vehicle is sold to any of the following:

  • A member of a uniformed service in active military service of the United States who is stationed in this state or at a military reservation located partially within the boundary of this state and that of another state under orders of the member's branch of service;

  • A member of the Tennessee national guard, or reserve member of a uniformed service of the United States, who is a participant in the active guard and reserve program (AGR) and is stationed in the state or at a military reservation located partially within the boundary of the state and that of another state under orders of the member's branch of service; or

  • A member of the Tennessee national guard, or a reserve member of a uniformed service of the United States, who has been called into active military service of the United States and is stationed in a combat zone; provided, that, with respect to an individual, the exemption provided in this subdivision shall apply from the effective date of official military orders assigning the individual to a combat zone and shall expire 90 days after the effective date of official military orders releasing the individual from the combat zone.

In order to qualify for the exemption provided in this section, the purchaser shall provide to the seller, or to the county clerk when appropriate, a copy of the official orders related to the stationing of the purchaser and, if applicable, the purchaser's status as a member of the AGR program. The orders shall be retained in the seller's files and a copy shall accompany the application for registration.

This exemption shall apply only when the vehicle is titled and registered in the name of the qualifying individual, either alone or jointly with a Spouse or lineal relative.

Learn more about Tennessee Tax Free Motor Vehicle Sales to Members of the Armed Forces 

Tennessee County Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax, Disabled Veteran Exemption: Any disabled Veteran who has a 100 percent permanent, total disability from a service connected cause, or any former prisoner-of-war, as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, shall be exempt from the motor vehicle privilege tax upon submission of evidence of such disability to the officer in the county charged with the responsibility for collecting such tax. TCA 5-8-102 (a) & (d)
Who is eligible for the Tennessee County Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax, Disabled Veteran Exemption?
A Veteran who is 100% permanent and total disabled is eligible.

Learn more about the Tennessee County Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax, Disabled Veteran Exemption

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What are my Tennessee Military and Veterans Education Benefits?

Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Tuition Assistance Program: The Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Act establishes a pilot program to provide eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard tuition funding toward a first-time bachelor’s degree for the next four years through a tuition reimbursement program.

 T his is a tuition assistance program that provides reimbursement to an educational institution on behalf of eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard. The reimbursement will be in the amount equal to 100% of the maximum resident undergraduate In-State tuition charged by the post-secondary institution the member attends.

This program will fund no more than 120 credit hours or 8 full time semesters or equivalent towards an associate’s or first bachelor’s degree when attending a regionally accredited postsecondary institution within Tennessee.
Who is eligible for the Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Tuition Assistance Program? Eligibility requirements:

  • The Service member must be in good standing;

  • The Service member must be currently active in the Tennessee National Guard;

  • The Service member must have served in the Tennessee National Guard during the applicable academic term for which the application for STRONG Act tuition reimbursement is submitted;

  • The Service member must have maintained satisfactory academic progress and received a minimum grade point average of 2.0 as determined by the educational institution attended for the academic term for which STRONG Act tuition reimbursement is sought; and

  • The Service member must be pursuing postsecondary credit hours toward a first bachelor's degree.

Tennessee National Guard members can apply for this program but must have not missed a ship date to successfully complete basic military training prior to course start date.

Regionally accredited community colleges, 4-year public and private schools that are Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Federal Tuition Assistance approved are authorized. The school’s primary campus must be domiciled in the state of Tennessee.

Application packets are required to be completed within (90) days of course completion.
Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Tuition Assistance Program Information Flyer
Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Tuition Assistance Program Application Packet

Learn more about the Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Tuition Assistance Program

Tennessee Veterans Can Register Early for State Classes: A military Veteran who is a current resident of this state or whose home of record for military purposes is Tennessee and who is a student at a public institution of higher education shall be allowed to register for classes prior to the general student population at any public institution of higher education. Early registration shall occur using the same procedure used by student athletes, disabled students and honor students, if such groups are permitted to early register.

Learn more about how Tennessee Veterans Can Register Early for State Classes

Tennessee Helping Heroes Education Grant for Veterans: The Helping Heroes Grant offers $1,000 per semester to a student who successfully completes 12 or more semester hours with no failing grade as the final grade for the course. The student shall receive $500 per semester for successfully completing six 6 to eleven 11 semester hours with no failing grade as a final grade for the course. The student shall not receive an award if enrolled in fewer than six (6) semester hours.
Who is eligible for the Tennessee Helping Heroes Education Grant for Veterans?
The Helping Heroes Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to be eligible, the student must: