What is the homestead exemption?
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.
The exact amount of savings varies from location to location. But overall, across Ohio, qualified homeowners saved an average of about $420 per taxpayer during the 2008 tax year.
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.
How has the homestead exemption changed?
Starting July 2, 2007, the homestead exemption is available to all Ohio homeowners, regardless of income, who are either age 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled. These changes are the result of House Bill 119, which was signed into law by Gov. Ted Strickland on June 30, 2007.
Previously, eligibility for the homestead exemption was restricted through income tests that disqualified most senior citizens. For example, during the 2006 tax year, any senior citizen or disabled Ohioans with household income of more than $26,200 per year could not qualify for the savings.
Another important change: All households who qualify for the homestead exemption now receive a flat $25,000 property tax exemption on the market value of their homestead. Previously, benefits were tiered according to homeowners’ income and often not as valuable.
Because of these changes, the number of homeowners eligible for the homestead exemption grew from 216,810 for tax year 2006 to 776,154 for 2007. The average tax savings per household also grew, from $323 in 2006 to $410 in 2007.
When did the expanded homestead exemption start?
The expanded homestead exemption started with real property tax bills payable in 2008. For real property, bills paid in the current year cover the previous tax year; for example, bills paid in 2011 cover the 2010 tax year, and so on for subsequent years. For manufactured or mobile homes, bills paid in 2011 cover the 2011 tax year, and so on for subsequent years.
Who qualifies for the new expanded homestead exemption?
For real property owners, the homestead exemption is available to any Ohio resident homeowner who:
Is at least 65 years old or turns 65 in the year they apply ; or
Is totally and permanently disabled as of Jan. 1 of the year 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.
For owners of manufacturered or mobile homes, the applicant must be 65 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 Jan. 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.
I'm 65 but my spouse is younger than I am. Are we eligible for the homestead exemption?
If one of the principal owners of the property is 65 (or disabled) and the home is that person's principal place of residence, the property is eligible for the homestead exemption. Ohio law anticipates many applicants may be in this situation, which is why an eligible owner's surviving spouse may continue to receive the homestead exemption if the eligible spouse dies and the spouse is at least 59 on the date of death.
How do I apply for the homestead exemption?
To apply, complete the application form, available after the first Monday in January, then file it with the Trumbull County Auditor. The form is also available at the Trumbull County Auditors office.
What's the deadline to apply?
The applications window opens after the first Monday in January and closes on or before the first Monday in June.
I already receive the homestead exemption. Do I have to reapply to receive benefits under the new program?
If you are already receiving the homestead exemption credit on your 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 in 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.
Where do I apply?
The application must be filed with the Trumbull County Auditor as long as the property is located within Trumbull County.
May I file electronically?
Not at this time. A paper copy of the application bearing your original signature must be filed with the Trumbull County Auditor.
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. The Trumbull County Auditor may require some evidence of age, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate.
What documentation do I need to provide to prove my disability?
If you are claiming a physical disability, you must complete a disability certificate, DTE 105E, Certificate of Disability for the Homestead Exemption, and have it signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Ohio. If you are claiming a mental disability, you must have the certificate signed by a physician or psychologist licensed to practice in Ohio. In order to qualify for the homestead exemption, an owner's disability must be permanent and total and prevent the person from working at any substantial employment. You may also submit a current certificate from any state or federal agency that classifies you as disabled, as defined above.
The disability certificate, DTE 105E, Certificate of Disability for the Homestead Exemption, must be attached to the general homestead exemption application. The certificate is also available from county auditors.
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).
The trust agreement contains a provision that says you have complete possession of the property.
The homestead exemption used to be limited to revocable trusts (trusts that can be terminated any time by the settlor), but this limitation was removed effective tax year 2009 for real property and tax year 2010 for manufactured and mobile homes. Irrevocable trusts now may also qualify.
Most of the other common forms of property ownership (such as survivorship deeds) also qualify for the exemption. Properties owned by corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and trusts other than the trust described above are not eligible for the homestead exemption because such properties are not owned by an individual. If you have questions about what constitutes eligible home ownership for the homestead exemption, consult your Trumbull County Auditor.
I live in a community that is classified as a housing cooperative. Am I eligible to receive the homestead exemption?
Starting in tax year 2009 (bills payable in 2010), residents of any housing cooperative with two or more units may be eligible for the homestead exemption. Previously, the exemption had been limited to housing cooperatives with at least 250 units. To apply, housing cooperative residents should contact their county auditors.
Will I have to apply every year to receive the homestead exemption?
No. However, if your circumstances change and you no longer qualify for the homestead exemption, you must notify the Trumbull County Auditor by the first Monday in June.
In January each year the Trumbull County Auditor will mail you a copy of the continuing application form (DTE 105B, Continuing Homestead Exemption Application Form for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons, and Surviving Spouses). Please return this form to the auditor only if you no longer own the home, no longer occupy it as your primary place of residence, or if your disability status has changed.
I’ll save quite a bit of money through the homestead exemption. Will this hurt my local schools?
The state of Ohio reimburses school districts and local governments for the amount of revenue taxpayers save through the homestead exemption. Local governments and schools do not lose out.