Homestead program expanded to include spouse of Public Service Officer killed in the line of duty

Spouse of Public Service Officer Homestead

Effective 1/15/2021

Am. Sub. House Bill 17, 133rd General Assembly, has created an additional classification of recipient for the homestead exemption and for that recipient has granted an increased reduction. A $50,000 homestead reduction is authorized for surviving spouse of a “public service officer” who has either been killed in the line of duty or died from a fatal injury or illness sustained in the line of duty, including a heart attack. Similar to the homestead exemption for disabled veterans, the credit equals the tax on $50,000 of the true value of a homestead owned and occupied by the public service officer’s surviving spouse, and no income limit applies.

A new classification is found in R.C.323.1 51(G). Under that subsection, a “public service officer” is defined to be a person who is a paramedic, emergency medical technician (including EMT-basic, EMT-I, and “first responder” classes), a paid or volunteer firefighter, or a police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other class of peace officer as defined in the law governing the authority to arrest or issue citations. The exemption continues until the surviving spouse dies or remarries, and, like the $25,000 homestead exemption and the homestead exemption for disabled veterans, it is portable among homes so long as it applies to only one home at a time. If a surviving spouse also qualifies for the exemption as an elderly or disabled individual or a disabled veteran, the spouse must decide which exemption to apply; they are not cumulative.

In order to qualify, the surviving spouse must provide a letter from either a state pension fund or the department or agency that the public service officer served when the officer died confirming that the officer was killed in the line of duty.