The homestead exemption allows senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans to reduce their property tax bills by shielding some of the market value of their homes 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, through the homestead exemption, a home with a market value of $100,000 is billed as if it is worth $75,000. Across Ohio, qualified homeowners save an average of about $400 per taxpayer.
The tax exemption is limited to the homestead, which Ohio law defines as an owner’s dwelling and up to one acre of land. The value of the exemption may not exceed the value of the homestead.
Beginning with tax year 2014, new participants in the homestead exemption program will be subject to a means test. The exemption will only be available to those otherwise eligible taxpayers with household incomes that do not exceed $30,500, as measured by Ohio adjusted gross income for the preceding year. Existing homestead recipients will continue to receive the credit without being subject to the income test.
It is important to realize that in order to be exempt from the means test, the homeowner must actually receive a homestead exemption credit for tax year 2013. This may be by an original, continuing, or late application, but if an otherwise eligible homeowner who did not participate in the program for 2012 does not file and application by June 2, 2014 to secure the exemption for 2013, he will be subject to the income test for all future years.
Homeowners, who received a homestead exemption credit for tax year 2013, will never be subject to the income requirement even if they move to another Ohio residence. In other words, the grandfather status is "portable" and is associated with the individual alone, rather than with the individual and a particular residence.
The same charges were made to the homestead program for the manufactured and mobile home tax, but due to the difference in the collection schedule between real property and that tax, the changes will go into effect for tax year 2015, and owners must have received the exemption for tax year 2014 in order to take advantage of the grandfather provision.