The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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January 1, 2014

Changes to homestead exemption program start

JEFFERSON — The new year will bring some changes to the homestead exemption program through the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Beginning today, new participants in the program will be subject to a means test.

Under the exemption, property is taxed at $25,000 less than its appraised value.

The homestead exemption program is for homeowners age 65 and older or those who are under 65 and permanently disabled. County Auditor Roger Corlett said it usually equates to about $300 to $400 off their taxes.

Under the new law, eligible applicants must not have a total income of more than $30,500 per year, which includes the Ohio adjusted gross income of the owner and the owner’s spouse. This does not affect homeowners currently enrolled in the program or eligible applicants for 2013 who submit their application before June 2, 2014.

“It is important to realize that in order to be exempt from the means test, the homeowner must actually receive a homestead credit for tax year 2013,” Corlett said.

Anyone who turned 65 in 2013 can still apply to the program without being subject to the means test as long as their application is submitted by the June deadline. Those homeowners turning 65 in 2014, however, will be subject to the income test, he said.

The Ohio Department of Taxation plans to create a web portal to assist county auditors in verifying applicants’ income for those applicants who file income tax returns. County auditors will need to independently verify income for applicants who have not filed an Ohio income tax return for the prior year.

“I don’t think the legislators realize what we end up having to do on this end,” Corlett said.

The new forms are available on the Auditor’s website www.ashtabulacountyauditor.org/forms. Applicants can also get the forms by calling 440-576-3445 or by stopping in the office at 25 W. Jefferson St.

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