The Homestead Exemption is a form of property tax relief that results in a reduction in real estate taxes for those who qualify. The information provided is intended to assist you in determining if you may be eligible for this reduction. The information also provides answers to some of the more typically asked questions relative to this program.
Eligibility for the Homestead Exemption with Means Testing
Beginning in 2014, changes in the State Budget impacted the Homestead Exemption. The individuals applying for the Homestead Exemption will now be subject to a means test.
To qualify for the Homestead Exemption with means testing you must: own and occupy the home as your principal place of residence AND…
- Be 65 years old or older OR
- Be totally and permanently disabled as certified by a licensed physician or psychologist, or a state or federal agency.
- Have an Ohio Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of less than $34,200 for 2020. The amount of MAGI increases each year as set by the State of Ohio.
- Or be 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.
A veteran who is 100% service-connected disabled may qualify for the Homestead reduction without means-testing. If the applicant qualifies, the amount of the Homestead reduction is doubled.
An Ohio resident also must own and occupy the home as their principal place of residence as of January 1 of the tax year for real property or January 1 of the calendar year for manufactured home property. For individuals who own more than one home, the principal place of residence is considered the home where the person is registered to vote and the person’s place of residence for income tax purposes.
Please see the Forms page for the various Homestead Exemption Applications.
Frequent Questions about the Homestead Exemption
What is Means Testing?
Beginning in 2014, applicants will receive the Homestead Exemption only if the applicant’s total income does not exceed an amount set by the State of Ohio. This is true for individuals who qualify due to age and also for individuals that qualify as permanently and totally disabled.
Means testing only applies to those that apply for the first time in 2014 or later. If an applicant has previously received the homestead reduction for 2013 (2014 for manufactured and mobile homes), that person will not be means-tested. This is true even if the individual moves to a new residence and applies for homestead in a later year.
What determines Total Income?
Total Income is the Ohio Modified Adjusted Gross Income of the owner and spouse for the year preceding the year in which a homestead application is made. Gross Income includes wages, interest, dividends, rents, pensions, etc. The Ohio Modified Adjusted Gross Income is comprised of the Ohio Adjusted Gross Income (Line 3 of the Ohio Income Tax Return) plus any business income deducted on Schedule A, Line 11.
What is meant by the term permanently and totally disabled?
A permanently and totally disabled person has some physical or mental disability that makes the person unable to work at any substantially remunerative employment which the person would be able to perform in the absence of the disability and which will be expected, with reasonable probability, to continue for an indefinite period of at least twelve months without any present indication of recovery.
A Certificate of Disability Form must be filled out and signed by a licensed physician and submitted with the application for the Homestead Exemption.The Certificate of Disability Form can be found on the Forms webpage.
How do I show proof of age?
The application form requires individuals to report their age and date of birth. The Auditor may require some evidence of age, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, or Medicare Card. Please note that the application 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 three years following the conviction and must pay any improperly exempted tax, plus interest.
Does the Homestead Exemption have an effect on other real estate tax reductions that I am presently receiving?
The Homestead Exemption is an additional reduction in real estate taxes beyond the other property tax deductions and rollbacks. You will continue to receive all other property tax reductions and rollbacks that you are presently eligible to receive.
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.
A trust can be revocable or irrevocable; however, further conditions may apply. The Auditor’s Office can further assist with questions regarding revocable and irrevocable trusts.
Most of the other common forms of property ownership (such as survivorship deeds) also qualify for the exemption.
Applying for the Homestead Exemption
Access the Homestead Exemption Application on the Forms webpage.
Any information regarding the Homestead Exemption program may be obtained from the Allen County Auditor’s Office:
Allen County Auditor
PO Box 1243
Lima, OH 45802
Attn: Homestead Application
(419) 228-3700 x 8791
Allen County Courthouse
301 N. Main St.
Lima, OH 45801
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.
Filing electronically is currently not available. A paper copy of the application bearing your original signature must be filed with the County Auditor of the County in which your home is located.
Deadline to Apply
The Homestead Exemption application must be submitted on or before December 31st of the year for which the application is filed. The application must be received by the Auditor’s Office by that date rather than postmarked by the due date.
The Homestead Exemption application for an owner of a mobile home must be filed by December 31st of the year prior to the year for which it applies.
Approval of Your Application
You will receive a notice of approval or denial within 30 days after applying. If the application was denied, the notice will explain the reason for denial. If your home is real property and you believe your application was improperly denied, you may appeal the Auditor’s decision to the county Board of Revision by filing the Homestead Exemption and 2.5% Reduction Complaint form within 60 days of the date of the notice. Owners of manufactured or mobile homes may also appeal the denial of a Homestead Exemption application using the same complaint form but their complaint form must be filed no later than January 31.
Homestead Exemption Renewal
Once you have been approved for the Homestead Exemption, you do not need to fill out the application for future years. A form asking for information will be sent annually to those currently receiving the Homestead Exemption. If your circumstances changed and if you no longer qualify for the Homestead Exemption, you must notify the County Auditor by December 31. You must notify the Auditor only if your status information changes. For example, if you no longer own the home, no longer occupy it as your primary place of residence, your Ohio Modified Adjusted Gross Income is over the limit set by the State of Ohio or if your disability status has changed.
If you need to transfer the Homestead Exemption to a new residence because of a move, please fill out the Addendum to the Homestead Exemption Application.
For additional information regarding the Homestead Exemption, please contact the Auditor’s Office directly.