Senator Lou Gentile Pushes Tax Relief For Seniors

Bill removes homestead exemption income limit for seniors and disabled

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, StaLoute Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) gave sponsor testimony in the Ohio Senate’s Ways and Means Committee on Senate Bill 122. This bill would remove the income limit of $31,500, allowing all seniors and disabled Ohioans to apply for the homestead exemption property tax credit.

“This bill is about making our seniors a priority,” said Senator Gentile. “They have worked their whole lives and given back to their communities, and deserve meaningful tax relief. Removing the income limit allows more seniors to participate and gives them more financial security.”

The homestead exemption allows for a tax credit equal to the amount of taxes that would be paid on $25,000 of the value of the primary residence. Under current law, qualified homeowners are defined as over the age of 65 or are totally and permanently disabled. However, due to changes made in House Bill 59, beginning in tax year 2014 seniors and disabled Ohioans who make more than $30,000 do not qualify.

According to estimates from Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission, more than 40,000 Ohioans stand to benefit from the removal of the income test, and the average amount a homeowner would receive is about $500.

“Removing this very low income test provides much needed tax relief to thousands of middle income seniors and disabled Ohioans,” Gentile added. “As the cost of living continues to rise, it becomes more difficult for seniors living on fixed income to make ends meet. This additional tax relief will mean more financial security for them.”

Current law also includes a provision that the state reimburse local governments and schools for any lost tax revenue from the exemption, so schools and other jurisdictions that rely on property taxes do not lose money.