Tax and Spin- Part 2: Exemptions, exemptions

taxThe various levies that a property owner pays generally apply to districts that are of different sizes and that have different types and values of property. The taxing district for a levy could be an entire county, a township, a school district, or so on. The reduction factor that is applied to each levy depends on the makeup of the properties in the taxing district and is therefore different for each taxing district.

After the reduction factor is applied to a levy, a 10-percent rollback (subtraction) is applied to each non-business real property owner’s tax (ORC, 319.302).1

The “homestead” portion of one’s property is adjusted with an additional rollback of 2.5 percent (ORC, 323.152[B]). The homestead is defined as an owner-occupied dwelling (house) or a unit occupied as a home in a housing cooperative, with the land surrounding it that does not exceed one acre, and with no more than one attached or unattached garage (or comparable outbuilding).

The 2.5-percent rollback is not applied to the tax on any portion of one’s property that exceeds that. A homeowner whose property exceeds an acre or has extra buildings on it can ask the county auditor for the value of the homestead portion of his property so that he can compute his 2.5-percent rollback. The homestead of most city or town homeowners includes their entire property.2

Persons who have a certificate of reduction and are 65 years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled, or surviving at age 59-64 when their elderly or disabled qualified spouse dies can receive a tax deduction on $25,000 of the true value of their homestead (ORC, 323.152[A]).3 (A note to dampen the gladness over all these rollbacks is that local taxing units are reimbursed for the rollbacks with state money. That means that people who pay state taxes are footing the bill for what would be part of their own property tax and that of some other property owners, as well.) Lastly, county commissioners may grant a partial real property tax exemption to each homestead in counties with major league teams (ORC, 323.158).

In calculating the most typical homeowner’s tax on the assessed value of his primary dwelling (when his “homestead” is his entire property), after the tax is computed with the effective mills, the figure is multiplied by 87.5 percent (100 % – 10 % – 2.5 % = 87.5 %), or .875, to find the total property tax he pays after rollbacks are applied. The tax on a homeowner’s total tax bill and on each individual levy is figured the same way.

Following is the computation for the property tax for a levy with 2.406458 effective mills on a $100,000 home on a typical city lot (assessed at 35 %) that receives the 10-percent and 2.5-percent rollbacks: .35 X $100,000 X $.002406458 X .875 = $73.70.

The above example could very well represent the tax on a renewal levy that might have been voted at 3 mills 15 years ago, for example. The ballot, however, would not show the effective 2.406458 mills. Rather, the ballot would say that the issue is for the renewal of 3 mills, which is the originally voted millage of the existing levy. That is, the levy continues to have its old “name” despite the fact that 3 mills is not the effective rate of the tax to be renewed. After the levy is renewed at 2.406458 mills, it would still be referred to as a 3-mill tax.

The tax on each new or renewal levy can commence (that is, be applied) the same calendar year that it is voted or the following year, depending on the resolution, but the tax is always collected the year after it is applied. Therefore, it is either one or two calendar years after a vote that a person begins paying the tax on a new levy. A property owner’s total tax bill is divided in half and is paid semi-yearly.

1 With H.B. 66 in 2005, businesses lost their 10-percent real property rollback, but they received gradual reductions on tangible personal property taxes.

2 To keep the explanation of property taxes simple, this treatise does not address taxes on manufactured or mobile homes.

3 H.B. 119 in 2007 removed an income requirement.

Next: Part 3: The REAL growth of government

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