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New act helps seniors on property tax bill

Senior and disabled homeowners who would like to apply for the state’s new Homestead Exemption Property Tax Relief need to hurry. The deadline is Oct. 1 and it takes a little while to fill out the proper forms.

The new exemption offers eligible homeowners, regardless of income, the opportunity to shield up to $25,000 of the market value of their homestead, the dwelling and up to one acre of land, from property taxation.

Lawrence County Auditor Ray Dutey said the tax break comes from tobacco settlement money that the states got from the tobacco company a few years ago.

“For anyone over 65 or permenantly disabled, it doesn’t matter what their income is, they are qualified for $25,000 off their property value,” Dutey said.

Dutey said to begin the process, a person just has to show proof of age or proof they are permanently disabled and that they own a majority stake in the home. The application must be made at the county auditor’s office but Dutey said they will be happy to send an application if they want to call his office at (740) 533-4310. Forms are also available on the Web site, lawrencecountyauditor.org.

According to state statistics, the exemption will save the typical homeowner about $400 per year. Dutey said the exemption depends on the value of the home. For most homeowners in Lawrence County, Dutey said the average would probably be around $350.

“Some people could end up not having to pay hardly anything,” Dutey said. “Like if they are in a mobile home or a single level home, they may not have to pay much at all.”

So far, the Auditor’s Office has received 1,672

Homestead Exemption applications so far.

Previously, most senior citizens and disabled Ohioans were excluded from the Homestead Exemption because of income tests. It is now 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 Strickland on June 30.

Some of the changes in the law mean that all households who qualify for the Homestead Exemption will now receive a flat $25,000 property tax exemption on the market value of their home.

Previously, benefits were tiered according to homeowners’ income and often not as valuable. Because of these changes, the number of households eligible for the Homestead Exemption is expected to grow from 220,000 to an estimated 775,000.

For more information go to www.tax.ohio.gov, or call the Ohio Department of Taxation at (800) 282-1780 or the Lawrence County Auditor at (740) 533-4310.