Ottawa County: Tax credit issue being addressed, auditor says

Larry Limpf

Property owners in Ottawa County are being advised they will face no penalties on their next tax bills stemming from an incorrect reimbursement from the state for credits on owner-occupied and non-business properties.
Jennifer Widmer, county auditor, said tax payers won’t have to take any action when they receive their next bills.
“The state used to give a credit for non-business properties and owner-occupied properties for a total 12.5 percent reduction. In 2013, the state changed that so any new levies didn’t qualify for those reductions. So the effective rate (of millage) went down,” she said. “The result for a school district that passed levies after then is they didn’t qualify for the full reduction. What happened is our computer system didn’t change those lower effective rates for 2018 and 2019 to reflect the new levies that were passed.
“The state, in essence, overpaid. We had to go back through and recalculate those rates. So currently the tax bills are showing that property owners owe something. We’ve changed the rates in the computer to kind of force it to update everything. But it is not fully corrected yet because our software vendor can’t figure out how to apply it to 2018 because that’s a closed tax year. The balance that is showing now is a correction for this tax year and there are no penalties on this. It shows like someone owes but it will just be billed with your second half tax bill. We will issue a notice with that tax bill explaining what happened.”
According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, a 10 percent non-business credit has applied since 1971 to each taxpayer’s real property tax bill.
It is limited to all real property not intended primarily for use in a business activity.
In addition, a 2.5 percent owner occupancy credit of real property taxes is granted on a homestead (a dwelling plus up to one acre) that is occupied by the homeowner.
The credits are limited in that they do not apply to new levies or replacement levies passed after Sept. 29, 2013; they only apply to existing and renewal property tax levies.
Owner-occupants who are 65 or older or who are permanently and totally disabled may qualify for an additional reduction in real property taxes by applying for a homestead exemption.
The Ohio Department of Education reimburses schools for their share of the tax reductions and the tax commissioner reimburses the counties, townships, municipalities, and special taxing districts for their share of the tax reductions.
County auditors also receive three percent of the amount reimbursed as payment for administering the homestead exemption and two percent for administering the owner occupancy credit.


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