If you own your home, claiming a homestead exemption can potentially reduce the amount of property taxes you pay each year. The laws governing homestead exemptions vary from state to state. In 2007, Ohio lawmakers revised the guidelines regarding who is eligible to claim the homestead exemption. The expanded Ohio Homestead Act allows a larger segment of taxpayers to enjoy a discount on their property taxes.
To qualify for the Ohio homestead exemption, you must be a state resident age 65 or older or permanently disabled. Disabled residents must provide written certification of their physical or mental impairment signed by a physician and/or psychologist. You are also eligible if you are age 59 or older and the surviving spouse of an individual who was receiving the homestead exemption prior to his or her death. The property you're claiming must be your primary residence and it cannot exceed 1 acre. You can claim the homestead exemption for freestanding residential structures, condominiums and manufactured homes. Under the new law, there are no income restrictions for eligibility.
The Ohio homestead exemption allows you to exempt up to $25,000 worth of your home's market value. This means that if your home's value is assessed at $150,000, you only need to pay property taxes on the remaining $125,000. The Ohio Department of Taxation estimates that claiming the homestead exemption saves residents an average of $400 per year in property taxes. Individual savings vary based on the tax rate in your district.
Claiming the Homestead Exemption
You must file your application for the homestead exemption with the assessor's office in the county in which you live. You must include information relating to the type of structure you live in, including the physical address and tax parcel ID number. Disabled applicants must also attach proof of disability. Applications for the program are only accepted between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in June each year. If your application is approved, you do not need to reapply each year unless there is a change in the ownership of your property.
You can still claim the homestead exemption if you have transferred the title to your home to a revocable or irrevocable living trust. Land contracts and life estates are also eligible for the exemption. Failure to report changes in ownership of your property or your resident status can potentially result in fines or criminal prosecution. The homestead exemption cannot be claimed for multiple properties or vacation properties.
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