Legislative ChangesDue to changes in state law those individuals first qualifying for the Homestead program in 2014 will now be subject to an income means test. In order to qualify a new applicant in 2014 must have an Ohio Adjusted Gross Income (line 3 of the Ohio Income Tax Return) of less than $30,500 including the applicant's spouse if applicable. Generally speaking, the Ohio Adjusted Gross Income includes only earned income, retirement income such as social security is excluded. This new requirement does not apply to individuals who qualified for the homestead program prior to 2014.
Who is eligible for the homestead exemption?To qualify for the Homestead Exemption you must:
- Own and occupy the home as their primary place of residence as of January 1 of the year of the application; AND If qualifying for the first time in 2014 must have an Adjusted Gross Income (line 3 of the Ohio Income Tax Return) of $30,500 or less. This number is adjusted annually by the Ohio Department of Taxation. This requirement does not apply if the property owner qualified for the homestead exemption programs anywhere in the State of Ohio prior to 2014; and meet one of the requirements below:
- Be at least 65 years old; or
- Be totally and permanently disabled as of January 1 as certified by a licensed physician or psychologist, or a state or federal agency; or
- Be 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.
What is meant by the term "permanently and totally disabled"?Section 323.15.1 (D) of the Revised Code provides that "permanently and totally disabled" means a person who has some impairment in body or mind that makes him unfit to work at any substantially remunerative employment which he is reasonable able to perform and which will, with reasonable probability, continue for an indefinite period of at least 12 months. A certificate of disability form must be filled out and signed by a licensed physician and submitted with the application for the Homestead Exemption.
How do I show proof of age?The application form requires individuals to report their age and date of birth and it is signed under penalty of perjury. Ohio law also provides that anyone who makes a false statement for purposes of obtaining a Homestead Exemption is guilty of a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of such a misdemeanor are ineligible to receive the Homestead Exemption for the three years following the conviction and must pay any improperly exempted tax, plus interest. Your county auditor requires some evidence of age, such as a driver's license, birth certificate or Medicare Card.
What is the deadline to apply?Applications for the new Homestead Exemption must be submitted on or after the first Monday of January and received by your county auditor's office no later than the 1st Monday of June.
Does the homestead exemption have an effect on other real estate tax reductions that I am presently receiving?The Homestead Exemption is an additional reduction in real estate taxes beyond the other property tax deductions and rollbacks. You will continue to receive all other property tax reductions and rollbacks that you are presently eligible to receive.
I already receive the homestead exemption. Do I have to reapply to receive benefits under the new program?If you received the Homestead Exemption credit on your current tax bill, you do not need to file a new application. You will automatically receive the new Homestead Exemption for the next tax year if you otherwise qualify. If your spouse died during the previous year, and if you received the Homestead Exemption credit on the tax bill you paid the current year only because your spouse met the age or disability criteria, you do not need to file a new application for the exemption. If you were 59 at the time of your spouse's death, you will continue to qualify.
Taxpayers who filed an application before the previous year's deadline need not file another application after July 1 of the current year for the expanded Homestead Exemption. The original application contains the information the auditor will need to determine whether taxpayers are eligible for the expanded Homestead Exemption.
For estate planning purposes, I placed the title to my property in a trust. Can I still receive the homestead exemption?You are eligible for the Homestead Exemption if all of the following are true:
- You created the trust to be effective during your lifetime (an inter vivos trust).
- You provided the assets for the trust (you are the settlor).
- You can terminate the trust at any time (it is a revocable trust).
- The trust agreement contains a provision that says you have complete possession of the property.