A new law signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will increase tax exemptions for spouses of fallen first responders.
House Bill 17 was an expansion of previous legislation and increases the homestead tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. The legislation allows the spouse of a fallen first responder to exempt $50,000 of their home’s appraised value from property taxes or the manufactured home tax.
The law also exempts the spouse from the income means test, which is currently set at $32,800 in Ohio adjusted gross income, said Ohio Rep. Tim Ginter (R-5-Salem), who sponsored the bill.
“I am very pleased to see the governor moving forward today in making this honorable legislation law,” Ginter said in a statement on Thursday. “Providing important relief to spouses of our first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the public is the right thing to do.”
The law applies to spouses of first responders — peace officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, Ohio State Highway Patrol and “any equivalent position in another state,” according to the bill’s text — who were killed in the line of duty or from an injury or illness sustained in the line of duty.
The bill originally passed the Ohio House of Representatives in November 2019. It was passed by the state Senate last month.
“Police, firefighters, and other first responders risk their own lives every day to keep our families and communities safe,” said Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof when he signed the bill earlier this month. “This is the least we can do for the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
DeWine signed the bill into law in a virtual ceremony on Thursday.
The tax exemption will take effect for the 2020 tax year or in the 2021 tax year for those that are subject to the manufactured home tax.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Photo “Fallen First Responder Funeral” by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York. CC BY 2.0.