By Lisa M. Bitter, Esq.

Ohio's Homestead Exemption is a statewide program that allows qualifying homeowners to shelter a portion of the market value of their homes from property taxes. This is an additional reduction in real estate and manufactured home taxes beyond any other property tax deductions and rollbacks a homeowner may already be getting.

Since 2007, all Ohio homeowners age 65 or older and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans have been eligible for the Homestead Exemption, regardless of their income, allowing them to exempt $25,000 of their property value from local taxes worth an average credit of approximately $550 on their property tax bill.  The tax exemption was limited to the homestead which Ohio law defined as an owner's dwelling and up to one acre of land.  The value of the exemption could not exceed the value of the homestead.

However, Am. Sub. House Bill 59, recently passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Kasich in 2013, makes changes in the Homestead Exemption beginning with applications for the tax year 2014.  Current eligible participants will not be impacted.

As part of the new state budget, all homeowners age 65 or older who already receive the homestead exemption will continue to qualify but future homeowners age 65 or older  will be eligible only if they have less than $30,000 in income.  The change to Ohio's Homestead Exemption is to return to the program's original intent prior to 2007 which was to assist low income homeowners age 65 or older with staying in their homes.