Disabled, seniors can seek tax break until June 2

LISBON – Anyone who turned 65 last year or became disabled still has until June 2 to qualify for the Homestead Exemption under the old guidelines, which granted the property tax break regardless of income.

The reminder came this week from Columbiana County Auditor Nancy Milliken, who said her office is accepting applications for the Homestead Exemption between now and June 2.

The Homestead Exemption is a state property tax break available to homeowners who either are disabled or turn 65. Applicants were once subject to an income requirement, which was eliminated in 2008.

But last year the state legislature reinstated the income requirement, and homeowners who turn 65 after 2013 or become disabled have to earn less than $30,500 per year to be eligible for the Homestead Exemption.

“An income restriction imposed by state lawmakers last year will limit who is eligible for the Homestead Exemption credit in the future. But there is a window of opportunity for anyone who was eligible last year to enroll in the program under the old guidelines,” Milliken said, in a news release.

Any homeowners who turned 65 or became disabled in 2013 but failed to apply under the old guidelines have until June 2 to do so and still receive the Homestead Exemption without having to meet the new income guidelines.

“If you qualified for the program last year but failed to enroll for whatever reason, you can file in 2014 as a late applicant and you will not have to meet the income

test,” she said.

Homeowners currently receiving the benefit are grandfathered in under the old requirements and will continue to automatically qualify, regardless of income. These recipients need not reapply, even if they sell their home and purchase a new one.

More than 10,000 county homeowners are currently enrolled in the Homestead Exemption program, and they receive an average tax break of $300 per year.

For further information, Milliken urged residents to call her office at 330-424-9515 extension 1011 or go to their website at www.columbianacntyauditor.org, where applications can be downloaded.