What is the Homestead Exemption?
The Homestead Exemption allows senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled residents and veterans of Geauga County to reduce their property tax burden by shielding some of the market value of their home 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 home from all local property taxes. For example, through the Homestead Exemption, a home with a market value of $100,000 would be billed as if it is worth $75,000.
The exact amount of savings will vary from location to location. But overall, across Geauga County, qualified homeowners should save an average of about $456 per year.
How Has the Homestead Exemption Changed?
- In 1970, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting a homestead exemption that reduced property tax for lower-income senior citizens. In 2007, the General Assembly expanded the program to include all senior citizens, regardless of their income. Now, the state of Ohio is returning to the originally approved system of applying means/income testing to determine eligibility for the homestead exemption.
- Seniors who are currently eligible for the program will continue to receive the homestead exemption. Seniors, who newly apply for the exemption for tax year 2014, and subsequent years, will only be eligible if their household income is less than $34,600 for 2022 (2021 Ohio Adjusted Gross Income).
When Does the New Homestead Exemption Start?
The new Homestead Exemption starts with tax bills payable in 2014. For real property, bills paid in 2014 cover the 2013 tax year. For manufactured or mobile homes, bills paid in 2014 cover the 2014 tax year.
Who Qualifies for the New Homestead Exemption?
Any Ohio resident homeowner who:
- Is at least 65 years old during 2020 and has an income that is less than $34,600 or
- Is totally and permanently disabled as of January 1, 2020 as certified by a licensed physician or psychologist, or a state or federal agency and has an income that is less than $34,600 or
- Is an individual receiving homestead credit prior to 2013 on another property in the state of Ohio 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
To qualify, a Geauga County resident also must own and occupy a home as their principal place of residence as of January 1, 2020 for real property or January 1, 2020 for 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 persons place of residence for income tax purposes.
How Do I Apply for the Homestead Exemption?
To apply, complete the application form (DTE 105A Homestead Exemption Application Form for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons, and Surviving Spouses or DTE 105I for Veterans), then file it with the Geauga County Auditor. The application is available at the Geauga County Auditors Office by contacting us at 440-279-1614 or downloading the form online.
Where Do I Apply?
The application must be filed with the Geauga County Auditor located at 231 Main Street Suite 1A, Chardon Ohio 44024. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
May I File Electronically?
Not at this time. A paper copy of the application bearing your original signature must be filed with the Geauga County Auditor.
How Will I Know if My Application Has Been Approved?
If the county auditor approves your application, the county treasurer will notify you by enclosing a notice showing the calculation of your tax reduction with the first tax bill you receive for payment.
If the county auditor denies your application, you will receive a notice informing you of and explaining the reason for the denial.
If you believe your application was improperly denied, you may appeal the auditor’s decision to the county Board of Revision by filing form DTE 106B, Homestead Exemption and 2.5% Reduction Complaint, on or before the deadline (which is typically the second Wednesday in February 2020). Owners of manufactured or mobile homes may also appeal the denial of a Homestead Exemption application, but their complaint forms must be filed no later than January 31st of the current year.
The complaint form is available from the county auditor or at the Ohio Department of Taxations Web site at tax.ohio.gov.
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 and must pay any improperly exempted tax, plus interest.
What Documentation Do I Need to Provide to Prove My Disability?
If you are claiming a physical disability, you must have the certificate on the backside of the application 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. You may also submit a certificate from any state or federal agency that classifies you as permanently and totally disabled.
If you are a veteran, In order to qualify for the exemption you must be a veteran of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve components thereof, or of the National Guard, who has been discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions (Form DD214), and who has received a total disability rating (100%) or a total disability rating for compensation (100%) based on individual unemployability, for a service-related disability or combination of service-related disabilities.
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)
- You can terminate the trust at any time (it is a revocable trust)
- The trust agreement contains a provision that says you have complete possession of the property
Most of the other common forms of property ownership (such as survivorship deeds) also qualify for the exemption. If you have questions about what constitutes eligible homeownership for the Homestead Exemption, please contact the Geauga County Auditor’s Office at 440-279-1614.
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 Geauga County Auditor by December 31st each year.
What if I Received a Larger Tax Credit Under the Old Version of the Homestead Exemption? Will I Lose Out?
Geauga County taxpayers will automatically receive whichever credit is larger, and the amount of the credit received in the future cannot be decreased below the amount of savings credited on tax bills paid during 2014.
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.