Are You Getting All Your Ohio Property Tax Breaks?

Seniors, disabled persons, and veterans are among those who may be able to qualify for reductions of their Ohio property tax.

Getting a property tax bill for your Ohio home is almost as painful as watching the Wolverines trounce the Buckeyes. As you know, your home is subject to local property taxes – year in and year out. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re not overpaying.

Fortunately, there are two possible ways to reduce your property tax burden. The first method is available to all Ohio homeowners. The second depends on whether you meet certain qualifications. If you meet those qualifications, you can seek tax relief using both methods.

Method #1 – Appeal the Taxable Value of Your Home

You may know that the authorities compute your property tax by multiplying your home’s taxable value by the tax rate.

Example: Mike and Wendy own a home in Ohio. The assessor has placed a taxable value of $200,000 on the home. If the tax rate is 1%, Mike and Wendy will owe $2,000 in property tax. If they can reduce the taxable value of their home, their property tax bill will be lower. Mike and Wendy appeal the $200,000 taxable value of their home. The appeals board reduces that value to $150,000. Now, Mike and Wendy owe only $1,500 in property tax on their Ohio home.

If you believe that the tax assessor has misjudged the value of your home – or if the taxable value is higher than that of similar homes – you might want to pursue an appeal.

Method #2 –Get All the Tax Breaks You’re Entitled To

Ohio allows for reduced property taxes if you meet certain requirements. Here’s a summary of the chief programs in Ohio.

Senior homestead exemption. If you’re 65 years old or older, you may qualify for an exemption of the first $25,000 of your home’s taxable value. Your annual income must be less than $30,000 – (as of 2015 -- that figure will be adjusted each year to reflect inflation).

Disabled homestead exemption. If you’re totally and permanently disabled – or the surviving spouse of such a person – you may qualify for the same exemption as seniors do. The same income limit applies.

Veterans exemption. If you’re a veteran who is totally and permanently disabled, you’re eligible for a larger exemption: the first $50,000 of your home’s taxable value. And there’s no income limit. Are you the surviving spouse of a veteran who was receiving this exemption when he or she died? Were you living in the home at that time? If your answer to both questions is yes, you may be able to continue receiving the exemption. Again, there’s no income limit.

Although Ohio laws set statewide property tax rules, your local government handles the administration and levying of the tax. So contact your local tax assessor for complete details on property tax exemptions. Be sure to ask about any forms you need to complete and the deadline for filing those forms. You can get contact information for your tax assessor from Ohio's online directory.

In addition to the property tax which is based on the assessed value of your home, your tax bill may include special assessments. Typically these assessments are made to pay for improvements – such as street paving or repaving – in your neighborhood.

Depending on the complexity of your situation, you may want to seek legal help to reduce your Ohio property tax. To find an experienced real estate lawyer in Ohio, check out Nolo’s Lawyer Directory.

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