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Auditor administers property tax breaks

Feb. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

As you can imagine, I get more and more questions from folks about their property taxes as the March 8 due date for the first half tax bills fast approaches. Most often, people want to know what can be done to help ease their tax burden.

Actually, there are several options available for you that enable you to save money. I want to make you aware of these programs designed to reduce your annual property tax bill.

First, if you own a home as your principal place of residence, you are entitled to a 2 1/2 percent tax rollback regardless of your age.

Second, the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program helps to reduce the tax burden for owners of real estate who are engaged in commercial farming.

Also, if your property has been damaged by fire, flooding, or other means, you may be eligible for a temporary reduction in your taxes as well.

Finally, some homeowners may qualify for the Homestead Exemption, which is an additional program that can result in significant tax savings. To be eligible for the Homestead Exemption, you must currently live in your home as your principal residence, and be at least 65 years of age, or certified as permanently disabled, regardless of age. You are also eligible if you are at least 59 years of age and the surviving spouse of a qualified homeowner.

In fact, with the Homestead Exemption, homeowners are able to shield $25,000 worth of market value of their home from property taxes. Currently in Lawrence County, there are 6,454 active Homestead Exemptions, saving those taxpayers more than $1.6 million in annual property taxes.

As your County Auditor, I am committed to helping you receive fair and equal treatment as a Lawrence County taxpayer, as well as helping you take advantage of every tax saving opportunity provided you by Ohio law.

Please take advantage of these programs to ease your tax burden. To find applications and additional information on the rollback and reduction programs, please visit my website at www.lawrencecountyauditor.org, call 740-533-4310, or visit my office on the second floor of the courthouse. We will be happy to help you.

Jason C. Stephens is the Lawrence County Auditor.