Man gets answer to garage question

Last week a man called with a question about his Homestead Exemption. The Homestead Exemption was approved by Ohio voters in 1970, and permits a reduced property tax for lower income senior citizens.

The Homestead Exemption provides seniors age 65 or older, or those permanently and totally disabled, a property tax credit on their annual real estate tax bill. In Montgomery County, the average savings is more than $600 for those who enroll and qualify. In order to qualify for the Homestead Exemption, a homeowner must own and occupy the home as primary place of residence. They must also be 65, or will reach 65 by Dec. 31 of the year in which they apply. Beginning in tax year 2014, new Homestead Exemption applicants are subject to an income means test. For 2016, the adjusted gross income is $31,800 for applicants and spouses.

The man’s question pertained to his garage. For several years the real estate tax for his garage has been $1. This year the tax was increased to $112. He had called in an effort to find out why, and was simply told he was kicked off, but was not provided with a reason. He was seeking to learn why the real estate tax for his garage had increased.

The Ombudsman contacted staff at the auditor’s office and learned the garage had been included by mistake. An audit of the Homestead Exemption program had uncovered that the garage was included, but the Homestead Exemption only applies to the property being inhabited. Therefore, the garage was no longer included. The Ombudsman requested the staff person contact the man with the explanation.

Several days later the man called the Ombudsman to express his gratitude for the explanation he received from the staff person and for the intervention of the Ombudsman to get his question answered fully.

The Ombudsman Column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens’ Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government services, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to the Beerman Building, 11 W. Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone (937) 223-4613, or by electronic mail at or like us on Facebook at “Dayton Ombudsman Office.”

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