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This tip could save you money on your property tax bill in Ohio

February 8, 2018

This tip could save you money on your property tax bill in Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Homeowners, have you ever checked to see if you’re receiving the property tax discount you’re entitled to under Ohio law?

All homeowners should be getting a break of about 2.5 percent on the tax bill for their primary residence. This portion is paid by the state.

In most cases, it is being applied properly; but not always.

The paperwork might have slipped through the cracks when you were buying your house.

Olmsted Township resident Mary Lou Gallus recently surveyed bills for properties in her area and said she found just over 11 percent of the homeowners were not receiving the credit.

“It can run anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the value of the house,” Gallus noted.

You can check by looking at your most recent property tax bill. If you don’t get the bill (many are mailed to places handling tax payments from escrow accounts), you can easily check online through auditor websites in most counties.

Here’s the link for Cuyahoga County.

Once there, search for your property and then click the “tax bill” tab on the left to display the details. Then look for the “owner occupancy credit” line on the bill.

If you are not receiving the credit, contact your county auditor’s office, or in the case of Cuyahoga County, the Fiscal Office. Cuyahoga County has a form at this link that you can fill out. The telephone number is 216-443-7010.

Brian O’Malley, transfer and recording administrator for Cuyahoga County, said that as part of the title paperwork in use since 1999, there is a box to check to claim a home being purchased as a primary residence.

But, with 480,000 residential parcels countywide, he said it’s possible not everyone is getting the credit they deserve; perhaps the box wasn’t checked or the property use changed since the sale.


Property tax rates for each place in Northeast Ohio.Property taxes based on median home price in each Cuyahoga County city, village and township.Search by street or city to find latest home sales in Cuyahoga County

If you do find a problem, you can get a credit adjustment for both this year’s tax bills, and what you paid last year, O’Malley said.

One thing to keep in mind: the credit is good for only your primary residence. This means you cannot claim it both for a home in Cuyahoga County and a cottage near Port Clinton or a home in Florida.

In fact, O’Malley said, a number of homeowners within the last few years have filed paperwork to remove the credit for their Ohio home, because they were eligible for a larger credit in Florida.

Officials in some areas of Florida began aggressively policing whether people were claiming primary residence credits in both states, in violation of the law.

Under Ohio rules, the credit is limited to principal places of residence, so rental properties are excluded. Also, homes owned by corporations, partnerships, associations or groups are not eligible for the credit.

On larger lots, the credit is limited to the first acre of land.

The credit for decades had been a straight 2.5 percent. But under changes approved by state lawmakers in 2013, it now only applies to taxes in place before that date. The credit is not applied to new taxes approved by voters since then.

Rich Exner, data analysis editor for cleveland.com, writes about numbers on a variety of topics. Follow on Twitter @RichExner.