Seniors Save On Property Taxes - What is the Homestead Exemption?
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION INFORMATION - FROM THE FRANKLIN COUNTY AUDITOR - MIKE STINZIANO
The homestead exemption is a statewide program which allows qualified senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled homeowners to reduce their property tax burden by shielding some of the market value of their home from taxation.
The exemption, which takes the form of a credit on property tax bills, allows qualifying homeowners to exempt $25,000 of the market value of their homes from all local property taxes. For example, an eligible owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 will be billed as if the home were valued at $75,000. More than 60,000 Franklin County homeowners are taking advantage of the homestead tax exemption. Those residents saved a combined $38.6 million in 2017.
In 1970, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting a homestead exemption that reduced property tax for lower income senior citizens. In 2007 the General Assembly expanded the program to include all homeowners who were either 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled, regardless of their income. Beginning with the 2014 tax year, the state of Ohio: 1) returned to the originally approved system of applying means/income testing to determine eligibility for the homestead exemption; and 2) added an additional classification of recipient, disabled veteran, which allows for an increased reduction of $50,000.
To qualify for the senior and disabled persons homestead exemption, a homeowner must:
Own and occupy the home as their primary place of residence as of January 1 of the year for which they apply; and
Be 65 years of age, or turn 65, by December 31 of the year for which they apply; or
Be totally and permanently disabled as of January 1 of the year for which they apply, as certified by a licensed physician or psychologist; or
Be the surviving spouse of a person who was receiving the homestead exemption at the time of death and where the surviving spouse was at least 59 years old on the date of death.
Have a total income (for both the applicant and the applicant's spouse) that does not exceed the amount set by the law, which is adjusted annually for inflation. "Total income" is defined as the adjusted gross income for Ohio income tax purposes. For the current (2019) application period the maximum allowed is $32,800 total income in 2018. For late (2018) applications, the maximum allowed is $32,200 total income in 2017.
Note: Homeowners who received a homestead exemption credit for tax year 2013 will not be subject to the income requirement, even if they move to another Ohio residence. In other words, the grandfather status is "portable."
To qualify for the disabled veterans enhanced homestead exemption, a homeowner must:
- Own and occupy the home as their primary place of residence as of January 1 of the year for which they apply; and
- Be a veteran of the armed forces of the United States (including the reserve components or the National Guard) who has been discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions, and who has received a total disability rating or a total disability rating for compensation based on individual un-employability for a service-connected disability or combination of service-connected disabilities.
Previously many veterans were frustrated when they learned they were not eligible for the expanded exemption because their total disability rating was at less than 100 percent although their compensation rating was at 100 percent. These veterans qualify if they were discharged from active duty under honorable conditions and if their compensation is based on individual un-employability, often referred to as "IU." Veterans eligible under this provision will have received a letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stating that their application for the status of individual un-employability has been granted. The veteran should provide a copy of this document along with a copy of the DD214 to establish eligibility under this expanded law.
The exact amount of savings from the exemption will vary from community to community based on local tax rates. View an estimated reduction schedule for the senior and disabled persons homestead exemption for your tax district.
If you are interested in filing a homestead exemption application, call our office at 614-525-3240, visit our offices at 373 S. High St., 21st Floor, or select the appropriate link above to download an application. Senior and disabled applicants also have the option to file an application electronically.
Those homeowners who already receive the homestead exemption do not need to reapply every year. However, if your circumstances change you must notify our office. A continuing homestead exemption application is sent each year to those homeowners who received the reduction for the preceding tax year. Please return this form only if there have been changes in eligibility status, e.g. you no longer own the home, no longer occupy it as your primary place of residence, or if your disability status has changed.