Did you turn 65 (or older) during 2013?  Happy Birthday!  Have an AGI over $30,000?  

If yes, congratulations, you are among the lucky few in Ohio who may still qualify for the Homestead Exemption!  

Under the recently enacted H.B. 59 which established Ohio’s budget for 2014, there are numerous changes coming that will affect residential homeowners. 

While lawmakers are starting to hear from their constituents, including those approximate 40,000 Ohio households who may lose out on eligibility next year, and bills to reverse the changes are being introduced, under the coming budget, homeowner’s will see the eventual elimination of the ten percent and two and one-half percent real property tax rollbacks on future levies and the loss of the automatic eligibility for those turning 65 under the Homestead Exemption, which has been adjusted from an age-test to a means-based test.

Under the old law, any Ohio landowner who currently lives in their home and that home is their primary residence, qualifies for an exemption if:

• He is at least 65 years old or will reach age 65 during the current tax year; or
• He is certified totally and permanently disabled, regardless of age; or
• Is the surviving spouse of a qualified homeowner, and who was at least 59 years old on the date of the spouse’s death.

Eligible homeowners were able to shield $25,000 worth of the market value of their home from local property taxes. For example, an eligible homeowner residing in Shaker Heights, Ohio could save up to $950 per year under the exemption. 

Under the new law, the exemption will only be available to eligible taxpayers with household incomes that do not exceed $30,000, as measured by their Ohio adjusted gross income for the preceding year. That amount will be indexed to inflation each fall and is expected to be around $30,400 for tax year 2014.

Existing homestead exemption recipients will continue to receive the credit without being subject to the income test.   Ohio does allow for late exemption filing for first time recipients.  Eligible homeowners, including those who turned 65 or older during 2013 have a ‘save’ and can file a late application during a one-time six (6) month window. If approved to receive the exemption retroactive for the 2013 tax year, those homeowners will remain eligible for future years event if their AGI exceeds the new income limitation.  And, the eligibility is “portable” if the owner moves his or her primary within the State.  

Applications can be obtained from your County Auditor or Fiscal Office can be filed as early as January 6, 2014 but no later than June 2, 2014