In 1970, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment, permitting a homestead exemption that reduced property tax for lower income senior citizens. Then in 2007, the General Assembly expanded the program to include all senior citizens, regardless of their income. Now, the state of Ohio is returning to the originally approved system, of applying means/income testing to determine eligibility for the homestead exemption.
Current program participants and their eligible surviving spouses are exempt from the income requirements; current program participants are those who received a homestead exemption tax credit for real property for tax year 2013. Current program participants or manufactured homeowners are those who received the credit for tax year 2014.
For real property owners who are not currently receiving homestead, or do not qualify for 2013, the homestead exemption is available to any Ohio resident homeowner who:
- Qualifies under the means-test and.
- Is at least 65 years old or turns 65 in the year for which they apply; or
- Is totally and permanently disabled as of January 1 of the year for which they apply, as certified by a licensed physician or psychologist, or a state or federal agency; or
- Is the surviving spouse of a person who was receiving the previous homestead exemption at the time of death, and where the surviving spouse was at least 59 years old on the date of death.
Since applications for real property are filed in the year for which homestead is sought, the owner must be 65 by December 31 of the year the application is filed. For manufactured or mobile homes, applications are due in the year preceding the year for which homestead is sought. Those applicants must be 65 years old, or turn 65 during the year following the year in which they apply.
To qualify, an Ohio resident also must own and occupy a home as their principal place of residence as of January 1 of the year, for which they apply, for either real property or manufactured home property. For individuals who own more than one home, the principal place of residence is the home where the person is registered to vote, and the person’s place of residence for income tax purposes.
Am. Sub. House Bill 85, 130th General Assembly, has created an additional classification of recipient for the homestead exemption and for that recipient has granted an increased reduction. A $50,000 homestead reduction is authorized for veterans experiencing service-connected disabilities and qualifying spouses.
A new classification is found in R.C.323.1 51(F). Under that subsection, a "disabled veteran" is defined to be a person who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States (including the reserve components or the national guard) who has received a permanent total disability rating or a total disability rating for a service-connected disability or combination of service-connected disabilities for which the Code of Federal Regulations identifies as a 100 percent evaluation. If a veteran meets the definition, that person will receive a reduction in taxes equal to the taxes on $50,000 of true value (as opposed to the current homestead reduction of taxes equal to the taxes on $25,000 of true value).
If the homestead qualifies for reduction under the new R.C. 323.152(A) (2) in the year the disabled veteran dies, and the veteran is survived by a spouse who occupied the homestead when the disabled veteran died and who acquires ownership of the homestead, the reduction shall continue through the year in which the surviving spouse dies or remarries.
In order to qualify, the disabled veteran must provide a letter or other written confirmation by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, or any predecessor or successor agency, showing that the veteran qualifies as a disabled veteran as described above. Please note the Department of Veterans Affairs issues two types of disability ratings. A permanent total disability rating is not subject to further review by the VA and will never change. However, other determinations of total disability ratings, or ratings of combinations of service-connected disabilities for which the Code of Federal Regulations identifies as a 100 percent evaluation are subject to review and may change over time. The term "overall or combined rating" is used by the VA to rate the level of disability separate from the level of compensation (which also may be expressed as a percentage). Only the rating of the level of service-connected disability should be used to determine eligibility for the expanded exemption.
Spouse of Public Service Officer Homestead
Am. Sub. House Bill 17, 133rd General Assembly, has created an additional classification of recipient for the homestead exemption and for that recipient has granted an increased reduction. A $50,000 homestead reduction is authorized for surviving spouse of a “public service officer” who has either been killed in the line of duty or died from a fatal injury or illness sustained in the line of duty, including a heart attack. Similar to the homestead exemption for disabled veterans, the credit equals the tax on $50,000 of the true value of a homestead owned and occupied by the public service officer’s surviving spouse, and no income limit applies.
A new classification is found in R.C.323.1 51(G). Under that subsection, a “public service officer” is defined to be a person who is a paramedic, emergency medical technician (including EMT-basic, EMT-I, and “first responder” classes), a paid or volunteer firefighter, or a police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other class of peace officer as defined in the law governing the authority to arrest or issue citations. The exemption continues until the surviving spouse dies or remarries, and, like the $25,000 homestead exemption and the homestead exemption for disabled veterans, it is portable among homes so long as it applies to only one home at a time. If a surviving spouse also qualifies for the exemption as an elderly or disabled individual or a disabled veteran, the spouse must decide which exemption to apply; they are not cumulative.
In order to qualify, the surviving spouse must provide a letter from either a state pension fund or the department or agency that the public service officer served when the officer died confirming that the officer was killed in the line of duty.