What is the difference in meaning between the following two sentences?

They have been exempted from paying tax.

They are exempted from paying tax.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?


The first implies that they, at some unknown past point in time, were exempted from paying tax, and they probably still are to this day (but not definitely).

The second, implies that right now, they are exempted from paying tax. It doesn't say anything about what happened in the past, or what was the situation before right now.

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    The first one is in the present perfect, which means there is a connection to the present. Unless there is some other explicit connection to the present given in the previous or next sentences, the implicit conclusion is that the connection to the present is that they still are exempted from paying tax. The only time this wouldn't be the case is where you have a different, explicit connection to the present, for example in a sentence like "they have been exempted from paying taxes, but that exemption ends today." – Peter Shor Jul 24 '13 at 13:52

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